City of Austin Performance Report 2015-16

Percent of Sheltered Animals Returned-To-Owner

Measure Description
This measure assesses the percent for all the sheltered companion animals that are returned to their owners, which decreases the time that the animals are in the shelter.
Calculation Method
This measures the number of animals returned-to-owner divided by the number of total possible outcomes. The calculation excludes died, missing, and disposal outcome types.
FY 2015-16 Results
The goal for this measure was set at 18.0%; the actual result was 18.62%.
Assessment of Results
In FY 2015-16, 2,928 sheltered companion animals were returned to their owners. The Animal Services Office uses several strategies to return lost pets to their owners, including scanning for microchips and searching for owner information on collar tags, returning pets in the field, posting lost pets on the website, social media, and searching for owner contact information via other City databases. Additionally, free microchips and identification tags are provided to every adopted pet, for attendees at Austin Animal Center (AAC) events and rabies vaccination clinics, and to any member of the public requesting free ID for their pet at the AAC so that animals can be returned to their owners quickly if they should become lost in the future. Animal Services staff also work with an owner on impoundment fees if there is an inability to pay, as long as the animal is spayed, neutered or scheduled to be altered by AAC Vet Services.  After several years of providing these free services, more pets are able to be returned in the field by Animal Protection Officers or good Samaritans. This year saw an increase in returns-in-field by Animal Protection due to an increase in the prevalence of microchipping. If these animals are not returned to their owners, they stay in the shelter for longer periods of time and require more resources to adopt out or transfer to rescue partners.
Next Steps
Staff need to develop a community engagement strategy to identify barriers for pet owners to reclaim lost animals such as access to the shelter, knowledge of where or how to search for lost pets, and perceptions around the process of reclaiming. A strategic goal of the neighborhood-level program is to increase return rates for pets. Animal Services will continue to provide programs and services to promote microchips and identification tags on pets so they can be returned home if found lost or stray. The Animal Services Office also will continue promotional and outreach activity focused on the importance of microchipping and where to look for lost pets.
Contact Information
For more information contact Lee Ann Shenefiel, Interim Chief Animal Services Officer at (512) 978-0500.