About the Data

about the data

About the Data

Whether organizations gather a great deal of data or have only gathered the basics, our data matrix should facilitate the roll up or merging of data at the local, regional, or national level by providing a common framework.


Basic Data


Community Services

For shelters and rescues that manage intakes.

Data for services provided in communities.


SAC Data Collection

  • Shelters & Rescues
  • Intake/Outcome Data
  • Community Service Data
Awesome Image

Basic Data Matrix

The Basic Data Matrix was designed to serve as a tool for basic data collection. It is a simple matrix containing what many (including Asilomar, ASPCA, National Federation of Humane Societies, American Humane, UC Davis, Maddie’s Fund, PetSmart Charities, HSUS, and Shelter Animals Count) have agreed are the minimum data points (along with definitions) an organization should gather.

Whether organizations already gather a great deal of data or have only gathered the basics, this matrix provides a common framework. This matrix does not reflect any preference in data analysis or the calculation of rates but is rather simply a tool for data collection.

Community Services Data Matrix

This community services matrix was designed to serve as a tool for basic data collection. The goal is to capture the most common ways shelters and other organizations are supporting community members and keeping pets from becoming homeless.

There is much depth to the types of services provided and those receiving services. For the purposes of this first attempt at national standards for community services data collection, the data collected focus on the number of animals receiving each community service each month. Based on user feedback and activity, Shelter Animals Count will continue to update the data categories and definitions to ensure the matrix is meeting the needs of organizations serving their communities.

History of Shelter Data

Shelter data has come a long way in the 21st century. In 2004, 20 leaders, representing national organizations and funders in the industry, gathered to find common ground in an otherwise divided animal welfare field. The result was the Asilomar Accords, a first in the industry: common definitions and a standard way of reporting shelter statistics.

Since then, many of those same organizations and others put their heads together and created the Basic Data Matrix, which serves as a basis for the minimum data shelters should be collecting and reporting.

In 2011, the national organizations began a discussion around how to compile a complete picture of the animals entering and leaving shelters in the United States. The result was the formation of Shelter Animals Count and The National Database, made possible by the founding organizations (below) who provided the funding to bring this vision forward.

Awesome Image