City of Austin Performance Report 2014-15

Percent of Sheltered Animals Returned-To-Owner

Measure Description
This measure assesses the percent for all the sheltered companion animals which are returned-to-owner.
Calculation Method
This measure is calculated as the number of animals returned-to-owner divided by the number of total possible outcomes (adopted, transferred, Return-to-Owner, and euthanized). The data excludes animals that were sheltered due to owner-quarantine and outcome types of died, missing, and disposal.
FY 2014-15 Results
The goal for this measure was set at 15.5%; the actual result was 19%, outperforming the goal by 3.5%
Assessment of Results
Animal Services makes a concerted effort to return lost pets to their owners by scanning for microchips and searching for owner information on tags, returning pets in the field and 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. After several years providing these free services, more microchipped pets than ever are entering the shelter system and are successfully reunited with their owners.  Animal Services staff will work with owners 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. 
Image of man kissing a dog he is holding.
Next Steps
Successfully returning lost pets home requires effort on the part of Animal Services staff, but also on pet guardians that are missing their animals.  To improve performance in this area we will need to identify any existing 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. Animal Services has partnered with a new technology company, Finding Rover, which uses facial recognition to match lost pets with owners. 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.  Additional promotional and outreach activity will be added to support these initiatives in an effort to meet the goal this fiscal year.
Contact Information
For more information contact Tawny Hammond, Chief Animal Services Officer, at (512) 978-0536.