The Humane Society of Berks County is committed to the idea that you can't solve a problem if you don't know exactly what the problem is. That's why we have led the way in our region by publishing all of our animal statistics, unfiltered and uncensored. We have made great strides but have far to go. We need you to help us get there.
On January 1, 2008, the Humane Society of Berks County began reporting all incoming and outgoing statistics using the reporting protocol established by the Asilomar Accords (*Data is now published in a modified Asilomar format which provides more detail as well as the "live out rates"). This data will be presented regularly and compiled at year's end. You may also download a PDF file of the Humane Society's Pet Evaluation Matrix, the criteria used for determining how an animal's euthanasia status is tracked and reported.
Without clear data, we don't know what we are up against and what we need to do to most effectively save animals. This level of data analysis is merely a start for the HSBC. We are in the process of creating GIS data mapping in order to identify adoption, intake and euthanasia trends in order to increase the number of animals leaving our shelters and decrease the numbers entering them. If you support or volunteer for another organization that does not publicly post their raw intake/outgoing statistics, please encourage them to do so.
Read "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics"* to learn about how and why the HSBC decided to publish all its animal data by clicking here.
To download HSBC Pet Evaluation Matrix, click here.
2011 January to December Incoming and Outgoing Animal Statistics (PDF), click here.
2010 January to December Incoming and Outgoing Animal Statistics (PDF), click here.
2009 January to December Incoming and Outgoing Animal Statistics (PDF), click here.
2008 January to December Incoming and Outgoing Animal Statistics (PDF), click here.
2007 January to December Incoming and Outgoing Animal Statistics (PDF), click here.
As always, I'm always available to discuss our programs and statistics. The HSBC believes that the problems facing animals will never be solved if the reality is hidden from view. Please feel free to contact me personally with any questions you may have about our organization or how we do things. I can be reached at 610-921-2348 ext. 10 or
Karel Minor, Executive Director.
The links below will direct you to our IRS Form 990 filings for the past two fiscal years.
FY 2010 IRS Form 990
FY 2009 IRS Form 990
Having trouble viewing hosted PDFs? Click here to see them on Guidestar.
Benjamin Disraeli is credited with saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” We’ve all seen news reports and television ads claiming something bad is up X% and something good is down Y%, all in very sinister tones. Yet any statistician will tell you that “facts” like these might be meaningless unless you know a few things: Up or down compared to what? Over what period of time? According to whom? In what context?
The Humane Society of Berks County recently conducted its normal review of our statistics in which we look at our various organizational numbers and compare them to the same period in prior years. Much of what we found looked great. While we had a 2% increase in the number of incoming animals when compared to last year, cat and dog adoptions went up 12%. Owner claims of stray cats and dogs went up 13%. As the executive director, these are the kind of numbers I want to pick from the mix and announce to the world to show what a great job we are doing.
But the fact is, when I announce one of these successes, I may be only telling half the story. Shelters all scramble to tell the good news but we rarely give the bad news in the same sentence. We tell ourselves it’s because you already know the horrible reality of euthanasia in shelters. Or, that so much of it is “beyond our control”. We hold detailed statistics close to our vests and often only share them with our staff and our board. We tell ourselves that you, the public, simply won’t understand or that the numbers won’t be in context.
I believe that is a lie. It’s a lie shelters tell themselves and it’s a lie shelters tell you. Shelters tell it because the hard reality, the unacceptable reality, is that open access shelters like ours euthanize millions of potentially adoptable animals each year. We know we are trying as hard as we can to avoid it, that the public and the government share the blame for the atrocity of numbers we face, and that if we didn’t do it, someone else would, probably far less humanely. But we also don’t want to have to compound the tragedy we are forced to embrace daily by having to explain it to a public that we don’t give credit for truly understanding the scope of the problem.
The Humane Society of Berks County has decided that we will no longer be complicit in keeping the facts from you. We are proud of the work we do and we have been making steady strides forward each year. You not only have the right to know exactly what we are doing on your behalf, you have the obligation to know what animals face right here in your neighborhood. If people don’t know what is going on, how can we expect them to step forward in righteous indignation and do something about it?
For all of the chest beating about the importance of pets in our society and all the best-selling books about how much this person or that loves their dog, our society is hiding its head in the sand as millions of companion animals die unnecessarily each year on the streets and in animal shelters around this country. Thousands of those pets will die right here in Berks County.
Effective immediately (4-26-07), the Humane Society of Berks County will post its incoming and outgoing animals statistics on our web site. In 60 to 90 days, the HSBC will have undertaken a complete review of all of our reporting protocols, with the assistance of a panel representing all facets of our community, and will begin reporting our numbers based upon the format created as part of the Asilomar Accords (click here for details). This reporting format provides a very simple to understand number: the percentage of animals leaving the HSBC alive.
I have always been adamant about the importance of providing our numbers, in exactly the same format and detail that we provide them to our staff and board, to anyone upon request. However, even I made sure I talked to the person requesting them to provide “context”. I must admit, I feel a little queasy about unilaterally publishing our statistics. I say unilaterally because none of the other open door shelters in Berks County or the region currently provide complete statistics as openly and as readily available as we now do. While we are all in the business of saving animals, anyone who thinks that shelters are not all seeking to draw from a limited pool of vital resources-- or that some won’t use other shelter’s numbers to their own benefit-- is fooling himself. But we’re about to open our books for the world, and other organizations, to see.
Someone very close to the HSBC asked me recently, “Why would you do that if you don’t have to?” My question, and the question I hope you ask, is, “Why doesn’t everyone else do it?”
Mark Twain also had a great quote about statistics. “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.” So, here goes with some statistics: In the first quarter of 2007, compared to the first quarter of 2006, the number of animals entering the HSBC increased about 2%, the number of cat and dog adoption increased about 12% and the number of stray owner claims of cats and dogs increased about 13%. The statistics tell us we’ve made great progress.
The facts: During the first three months of this year, 1,183 animals of all kinds entered the HSBC. 612 of them were euthanized. The facts tell us we have a very long way to go.
Now, what are you and I going to do about that?
Karel I. Minor, Executive Director (April, 2007)
1801 N. 11th Street, Reading, PA 19604 - phone 610-921-2348 - fax 610-921-5833
copyright 2013 Humane Society of Berks County