This page presents a set of charts and metrics for Austin Animal Center (AAC) dogs from May 2014 to July 2015. It also includes Length of Stay metrics by age group for Cats from FY 2014 and 2015. It first looks at dog population figures at AAC over that timespan. This figures clearly show a pattern in the rise and fall of the number of dogs, with population rising in late Spring and early summer and declining in the late Fall and Winter.
We then look at metrics around length of stay for adoptions, slicing this data on three different dimensions:
Some of the patterns we see in this data conform to conventional or anecdotal wisdom.
- By Breed Group
- By Age Group
- By Color Group
Some patterns don't:
- Bully Breeds are the longest stay breed group.
- Small dogs get adopted more quickly than larger dogs.
- Puppies get adopted more quickly than adult dogs.
Other patterns emerge that may be of interest:
- Dogs over 80 pounds get adopted sooner than dogs between 40 and 80 pounds
- There is no statistical evidence in this data for "Black Dog Syndrome".
- Across all breeds, average length of stay is roughly the same (36-39 days) for dogs between 2 and 10 years of age.
- Dogs between 50-70 pounds are the longest-stays by weight
It must be noted, however that data quality, especially for outcomes, is derived from secondary sources and is not rigorous enough for citation or publication. However, this data is useful for looking at trends and patterns. See the next section on Data Collection and Quality for more details.
The data for dog metrics was derived from two secondary sources:
- A daily animal report issued by AAC and used to build the volunteer dog tracking database (AKA Fetch)
- Data run at about 7:30 every evening
- May occasionally be missing some data that hasn't been entered by Close of Business (COB). This data will go into the next day's report.
- Data is in a plain-text CSV format
- Easy to parse and load in database
- No loss of information
A daily outcome report issued by AAC to all the volunteers on the At-Risk mailing list
- Data issued in a Microsoft PDF format.
- Has to be converted to a standard PDF format.
- Even after that it is difficult to work with.
- Format of data is so inconsistent that only about 95% of records can be parsed and loaded into database
- Therefore, statistics about adoptions, transfers, and returns should be considered to be approximations and taken with a (small) grain of salt
The span of time for this data is not sufficient to capture any long-term trends. It does show spikes in intake and population in late Spring/early Summer, but no other year-to-year trends can be derived from it.
The data for cats to measure length of stay comes from primary data sources for intakes and outcomes published by AAC to the City of Austin Data Portal. This data can be considered to be suitable for citation and publication.
- Get data from primary source(s) for a longer time span (2009-2015 would be ideal) and re-generate metrics and charts.
- Determine usefulness of current metrics/charts.
- Determine additional metrics/charts needed.
- Get additional data from primary source(s):
- At-risk animals with behavioral codes
- Behavior ratings (green/blue/yellow/orange).
- Medical and quarantine records to determine periods when animals were unavailable for adoption to refine length-of-stay metrics.
- Parse OBS reports to capture behavior information.
- Version 0.3 - Released 2015/09/06
- Added Length of Stay for Cats By Age Group
- Version 0.2 - Released 2015/08/16
- Added menu item and charts for:
- Most Adoptions By Kennel
- Least Adoptions By Kennel
- Adoptions By Kennel Area
Version 0.1 - Released 2015/08/01
- Published initial versions of:
- Total Population at AAC
- Intake and Outcome Trends
- Length of Stay Metrics
- Length of Stay By Breed
- Length of Stay By Age
- Length of Stay By Weight
- Length of Stay By Color
- Length of Stay By Breed and Age Group
- Length of Stay By Color Group And Breed
- Long Stays
- Long Stays By Breed Group
- Long Stays By Breed and Color Group
Total Population at AAC
Day-by-Day population at AAC. Note peaks in May/June 2014 and 2015. This is total population, including external housed dogs (primarily dogs in foster care). This shows that population peaks in late Spring/early Summer and declines in late Fall and Winter.
Intake and Outcome Trends
Plus/Minus (in blue) is intakes-outcomes. Over/Under Baseline (in red) assumes a baseline of 451 single-occupancy kennels (includes non-public kennels) and shows how far over or under the population is relative to the baseline.
Length of Stay By Breed (over 21 days)
"Bully Breed" includes dogs normally labelled as Pit Bulls; as expected, these are longest stays. Only possible surprises here are longer-than-expected length of stay for Australian Kelpie mixes and shorter-than-expected length of stay for Rottweilers (relative to bully breeds/Boxers/Bulldogs/etc.)
Length of Stay By Breed (21 days or less)
Unexpected result here is shorter-than-expected length of stay for larger breeds - Anatolian Shepherds (9 days), Siberian Husky (13 days), Black Mouth Cur (16 days), Great Pyrenees (17 days).
40% of dogs are 2-10 years old. 59% are less than 2 years old.
Length of Stay By Weight
Most interesting data point here is how much shorter length of stay is for dogs 80 pounds or more (24 days) versus length of stay for dogs between 40 and 80 pounds (46 days). The overall average length of stay is 26 days.
A little over 2/3 of the dogs are grouped as black, brown, or white. Across the population of adopted dogs, there is no statistical evidence for "black dog syndrome". This seems to hold true for each individual breed group as well.
Chihuahuas over 10 years old have an average length of stay (44 days) that is at least twice as long as any other age group.
Again, no statistical evidence in this data for "Black Dog Syndrome".
This is a breakdown of dogs adopted after a stay of 60 days or longer. The majority (52%) are Bully Breeds, who also have the longest length of stay (152 days). Note that Lab mixes and Chihuahua mixes are the next largest breed groups for long stays.
Kennels With The Most Adoptions (larger kennels)
As expected, lobby kennels (A01 to A04) had the most adoptions with the shortest lengths of stay in those kennels. You would expect that the kennel buildings outside the lobby exit would follow a pattern where the closes building had more adoptions, and the closest (north) end of those buildings would have more adoptions than the far (south) end. This is true to some extent here - 11 of the next 16 kennels are in kennels 101-110 an 201-210.
The expectation might be that the far (south) end of the 500 kennels would see the fewest adoptions because these kennels are usually used as ISO kennels. The next worst kennels would be the far (south) ends of the 400 and 300 kennels. While this is roughly the case, it is by no means uniform. The numbers get skewed when a long-stay occupies a kennel for an extended period of time (for example, kennels 309 and 336).
Adoptions By Kennel Area
Areas are the lobby (kennels A01-A04), small kennels (inside the lobby building), 101-110 (front part of the 100 building), 111-120 (back part of the 100 building), (201-210 (front part of 200 building), 211-220 (back part of the 200 building), etc., and TLAC kennels. Note that the rate of adoptions by area relates correlates to proximity to the main lobby, with the exception of the back part of the 300 building which is worse than the entire 400 building and the front of the 500 building. Note also that TLAC adoption rates per kennel and days in shelter are even worse than the back part of the 500 building, which is the area used for dogs in ISO.
Cat Length of Stay Metrics
Cat Length of Stay By Age Group
As expected, kittens have the shortest length of stay. The apparent anomaly here is that adolescent cats (5 months to 1 year) have a longer length of stay than cats 1-5 years old. See the long stay chart below for a partial explanation of this.
Cat Population Percentages By Age Group
Kittens make up the large majority of the total adopted cat population, as expected. Note the small percentage of adolescent kittens (260 total vs. 3,272 for kittens)
Cat Length Of Stay For Long Stays
This chart shows average length of stay for long stays, where a long stay is defined as a cat with a length of stay 60 days or longer before being adopted. It shows a partial explanation for the longer-than-expected adoption times for adolescent cats. 20% of them (52 out of 260) have an average stay of 141 days. The other 80% have an average stay of 11 days. The data available does not allow us to explore this - is the reason medical, behavioral, or some other explanation? Note that 13% of kittens, 18% of cats between 1 and 5 years, and 20% of cats over 5 years are long stays.
This chart shows length of stay for cats adopted after spending less than 60 days in the shelter. Average length of stay for kittens who are not long stays is surprisingly high - 23 days. Are there medical reasons for this?
Adoptions by Day, FY 2014-2015
Percentage of Dogs Adopted By Day
Percentage of Cats Adopted By Day
The charts above show total adoptions for dogs and cats per day of the week from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015, first by totals and then by percentages.
- Saturday and Sunday are the two biggest adoption days, as you would expect.
- 41% of dog adoptions happen on the weekend.
- 44% of cat adoptions happen on the weekend.
- Monday is the busiest weekday for dogs.
- Tuesday is busiest weekday for cats.
- Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are the slowest days for both dogs and cats
- Thursday is the slowest adoption day for both dogs and cats.
- 33% of dog adoptions happen on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday.
- 31% of cat adoptions happen on those days.