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The Best Friends Podcast Episode 19

The New Data is Here, The New Data is Here!
June 25th, 2020

Each year, a dedicated group of Best Friends staff and volunteers compile a colossal spreadsheet with 611,000 individual cells of data. This comprehensive dataset tracks lifesaving across the country and the latest numbers are in.

It wasn’t that long ago that our field worked in the dark, not knowing where and how animals were being killed. It’s impossible to develop effective, targeted programs to save lives without this information. This changed when a collaborative group of stakeholders launched Shelter Animals Count, and shelters and rescues across the country embraced a new framework for tracking and reporting. Today more than 3,600 shelters submit their data which represents 92% of intake nationwide.

The dataset tracks the national number of dogs and cats that enter and leave shelters, and drills down geographically to the individual shelter level. This week we give you the scoop on the 2019 progress and explore the ways that this dataset informs the work of Best Friends.

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Guests this week
Vicki Kilmer

Vicki Kilmer

Director of Business Intelligence and Strategy, Best Friends Animal Society

As Director of Business Intelligence and Strategy for Best Friends, Vicki Kilmer provides leadership for market and business intelligence strategy to set direction for key business priorities, and measure progress, to Save Them All by 2025.

During her decade-plus tenure at Best Friends, Vicki has leveraged her career-long marketing experience grounded in an appreciation of data to inform strategy and decision-making. She pioneered the establishment of a marketing division, led development of the foundational brand strategy and launched the Save Them All call to action. Vicki played a critical role in the founding and initial leadership of Shelter Animals Count, and she continues to serve as a board member and marketing chair. Together with her more recent leadership of a no-kill communities database and the largest national sheltering data set, she has influenced change in the industry regarding the importance, availability and transparency of data to increase lifesaving.

Brent Toellner

Brent Toellner

Senior Director of National Programs, Best Friends Animal Society

Brent Toellner joined Best Friends in November of 2016. As the Senior Director of National Programs, he oversees Best Friends’ regional work and helps the organization prioritize national initiatives in working with local partners to facilitate lifesaving programs that have maximum impact toward achieving no-kill nationwide by 2025.

In 2011, Brent, his wife, Michelle, and a few others co-founded the Kansas City Pet Project (KCPP) to bid on the contract to run the municipal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri. Since KCPP took over in January 2012, adoptions have increased by more than 200 percent. KCPP has had a live release rate of more than 90 percent for five consecutive years while remaining an open-admissions shelter.

Marc Peralta

Marc Peralta

Senior Director of National Mission Advancement, Best Friends Animal Society

Marc brings together Best Friends’ newest initiatives and aligns all things related to developing the knowledge and capabilities of individuals and organizations involved in lifesaving in order to empower them to achieve no-kill in their own backyard. These initiatives include shelter outreach, mentorship, staff-embedding programs, community cat programs, no-kill leadership training, and emergency response training and operations.

Before coming to Best Friends, Marc served as vice president, chief operating officer and interim CEO at Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Carrie Ducote

Carrie Ducote

Senior Manager, Southeast Region

Carrie Ducote got hooked on animal welfare in 2007 when she began volunteering with a rescue group in college. After graduation, she spent four years working at Atlanta Humane Society, eventually becoming the adoption manager. She then spent a year as the operations manager at Georgia SPCA before joining Best Friends in 2015. She began the Cobb County community cat program in 2016 and currently works with the Southeast regional team throughout the five-state region. As the chair of the Georgia Shelter Alliance, she has been working with organizations and communities throughout Georgia on implementing national best practices to increase the number of animals saved.

Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia College and State University and a master’s degree in anthrozoology from Canisius College.

Holly Sizemore

Holly Sizemore

Chief Mission Officer, Best Friends Animal Society

Holly Sizemore entered the animal welfare world in 1991 when she discovered a colony of community cats eating from a restaurant dumpster. The experience inspired her to help found the first trap-neuter-return organization in Utah. In 2000, Holly joined No More Homeless Pets in Utah and served the organization in a variety of roles, ending with the position of executive director from 2007 to 2010. In 2010, Holly joined Best Friends Animal Society and in her current role as chief mission officer, she oversees national programs, the animal care division at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the legislative department.

Holly has volunteered and worked in many different animal welfare arenas, ranging from small grassroots groups to large-scale public-private partnership efforts. Holly holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Utah and a master of public administration degree from the University of Washington. She and her husband proudly share their home with a few former community cats and one adopted dog.