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In BMC veterinary research ; h5-index 37.0

BACKGROUND : Among the 6-8 million animals that enter the rescue shelters every year, nearly 3-4 million (i.e., 50% of the incoming animals) are euthanized, and 10-25% of them are put to death specifically because of shelter overcrowding each year. The overall goal of this study is to increase the adoption rates at animal shelters. This involves predicting the length of stay of each animal at shelters considering key features such as animal type (dog, cat, etc.), age, gender, breed, animal size, and shelter location.

RESULTS : Logistic regression, artificial neural network, gradient boosting, and the random forest algorithms were used to develop models to predict the length of stay. The performance of these models was determined using three performance metrics: precision, recall, and F1 score. The results demonstrated that the gradient boosting algorithm performed the best overall, with the highest precision, recall, and F1 score. Upon further observation of the results, it was found that age for dogs (puppy, super senior), multicolor, and large and small size were important predictor variables.

CONCLUSION : The findings from this study can be utilized to predict and minimize the animal length of stay in a shelter and euthanization. Future studies involve determining which shelter location will most likely lead to the adoption of that animal. The proposed two-phased tool can be used by rescue shelters to achieve the best compromise solution by making a tradeoff between the adoption speed and relocation cost.

Bradley Janae, Rajendran Suchithra

2021-Feb-05

Animal shelter, Decision support tool, Goal programming approach, High euthanization rates, Machine learning algorithms, Prediction models