Animal Shelter Statistics

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Banner of seven pictures of cats and dogs

At the Ames Animal Shelter, we are 100% committed to running a No Kill, progressive, responsible animal sheltering agency.  We are proud of our success and thanks to our adopters, donors, volunteers, and community partners, we are able to place over 97% of our dogs, cats, and rabbits into new homes or return them to their original owners.  We believe no animal should ever be put to sleep for a lack of space, time, or resources.

We accomplish this in a variety of ways. We work closely with animal rescue organizations to help us find homes for animals that don’t thrive in the shelter environment and could benefit from a foster home situation. Through education and a variety of resources provided by agencies in Ames and surrounding areas, we are able to help owners find the means to keep their pets in their home rather than surrendering them. We provide 24/7 lost and found pet reporting through our website, and offer resources to owners to help them find their missing pets. We also take extraordinary measures (thanks to the support of our donors) to rehabilitate and help animals with injuries or illnesses to help make them adoptable.

The Ames Animal Shelter and Animal Control believes that transparency is an important part of being a No Kill municipal animal sheltering agency. We want our citizens, patrons, and donors to feel confident that when we say we’re a No Kill animal shelter, that we have the data to support that statement. The statistics listed provide the most complete, accurate data we have available regarding all animals that enter the Ames Animal Shelter.

Prior to December 1, 2014, the Ames Animal Shelter used handwritten records to track animal shelter and animal control operations. Many of those handwritten records were not well detailed, resulting in gaps in the data and animals with outcomes that were unaccounted for. On December 1, 2014, we implemented Chameleon, an automated software system for animal shelters. This allowed us to track our statistical data with a far superior level of efficiency, and allowed us to compile compete and accurate data from that point on.

From July 1, 2013 forward, Ames Animal Shelter records are complete, accurate and without data gaps.

Live Release Rates

Fiscal Year







Cat & Dog

July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019  95.83%  96.27%  98.91% 100.00%  100.00%  77.72%  97.23%
July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 96.21% 98.94% 100.00% 100.00% 95.24% 81.20% 98.29%
July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 95.77% 94.74% 99.12% 100.00% 90.48% 56.42% 96.96%
July 1, 2015 to June 30 2016 95.90% 90.18% 98.41% 100.00% 100.00% 68.75% 95.93%
July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 94.29% 93.26% 98.93% 100.00% 100.00% 68.64% 96.24%
July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 92.53% 95.12% 97.84% 100.00% 92.31% 67.16% 94.99%
July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 88.07%
66.67% 62.04% 90.79%
July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 86.54%
100.00% 46.52% 90.64%
July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 84.27%
85.71% 46.04% 88.90%
July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 83.99%
100.00% 60.61% 89.73%
July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 86.42%
100.00% 45.33% 89.36%
July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008 86.02%
100.00% 52.59% 89.89%
July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007 84.69%
83.33% 50.85% 87.60%
July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006 83.74%
71.43% 59.50% 88.77%

 *includes wildlife


Yellow Cat with a blue background

Combined Annual Statistical Reports

Annual Statistical Reports by Fiscal Year


Statistical Data in Graphs

Shelter Animals Count

A variety of efforts have been undertaken over the past few decades to create a platform for shelter data reporting – from Asilomar Accords and Live Release Rates, to Naked Data – much has been learned. There is strong desire to come together to create a standardized database system to collect baseline information nationally.

So in late 2011, a cross-section of animal welfare agencies banded together to create and share a National Shelter Database that would enable the measurement of progress in animal welfare, to inspire life-saving collaboration and have a positive impact over pet homelessness over time.

This steering committee outlined a vision and in the Fall of 2012, adopted a formal governing Board of Directors and incorporated Shelter Animals Count, a new, independent, non-profit created to share and steward a national database of sheltered animals that provides facts and enables insights to save lives.

The Ames Animal Shelter is proud to participate and share our statistical data with Shelter Animals Count on a monthly basis.

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Understanding the Data and Terminology

Beginning Shelter Count – The total number of live animals at the shelter at the start of that particular statistical report date range. As of July 1, 2013, these animals are separated by cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, domestic rabbits and other types of animals that include wildlife.


Confiscate – Animals taken into care and custody by Animal Control Officers while an investigation is conducted for cases such as animal cruelty, animal neglect, animal abandonment, animals left in vehicles, etc.

Owner Intended Euthanasia – Animals received whose owner brought their pet to the shelter with the intent of requesting euthanasia as a service.

Owner Surrender – Animals surrendered by their owners for the purpose of finding a new home.

Protective Custody – Animals received for the purpose of providing temporary care and shelter for various emergencies such as natural/man-made disasters, vehicle accidents, domestic abuse cases, etc.

Adoption Return – Animals returned to the Ames Animal Shelter that were adopted and for whatever reason didn’t work out in the new home within 30 days of the adoption.

Stray – Animals brought into the shelter or picked up by Animal Control Officers whose owners are unknown or they were free roaming in the Ames city limits.

Transfer in for Adoption – Animals received from various sources such as other animal sheltering organizations for the purpose of adoption at the Ames Animal Shelter.

Total Live Intake – Total number of live animals received during that particular statistical report.


Adoption – Animals adopted into new homes through the shelter or at off-site adoption events.

Rescue Adoption – Animals adopted through non-profit animal rescue organizations.

Working Cat Adoption – Feral or semi-feral cats that are not suited for adoption into an indoor home are adopted into approved farm or barn homes as a working cat.

Returned to Nature – Wild animals returned to their natural habitat.

Returned to Owner (Shelter) – Animals reclaimed by their owners at the Ames Animal Shelter.

Returned to Owner (Field) – Animals reclaimed by their owners in the field.

Return to Owner (Protective Custody) – Animals reclaimed by their owners that were brought in for the purpose of Protective Custody.

Transfer to Another Agency – Animals transferred to other agencies such as approved wildlife rehabilitators, other animal sheltering agencies, etc.

Live Outcomes Subtotal – The subtotal of all live animal outcomes.


Died in Care – Animals that died while in the care of the shelter or at private veterinary offices.

Escaped – Animals that escaped from the shelter or away from the care and custody of our Animal Control Officers in the field.

Lost – Animals whose outcome is unknown or the outcome was not recorded in our handwritten records from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2013.

Stolen – Animals that were unlawfully removed from the Ames Animal Shelter or from the animal control vehicle.

Shelter Euthanasia – Animals that were humanely euthanized (put to sleep) for severe medical or behavioral reasons.

Private Vet Euthanasia – Animals that were humanely euthanized (put to sleep) for severe medical reasons.

Owner Intended Euthanasia – Animals euthanized (put to sleep) whose owner brought their pet to the shelter with the intent of requesting euthanasia as a service.

Dispatched by Police Department – Wildlife, typically injured deer that have been hit by cars and are suffering.

Other Outcomes Subtotal – The subtotal of all other animal outcomes

Total Outcomes – The total number of all animal outcomes, live and other.

Ending Shelter Count – The total number of live animals at the shelter at the end of that particular statistical report date range.

Deceased Animal Disposal – Deceased animals picked up by Animal Control Officers in the field.

Annual Live Release Rate – The percentage of animals that have a live release from the shelter.