Privacy Policy

DC Cat Count Data Collection and Use Policy


This policy statement applies to the activities conducted under the DC Cat Count project. This policy will be updated to reflect details about the handling of data related to various components of the project as those are implemented.

The DC Cat Count project will only collect personal information which is knowingly and voluntarily provided by, for example, sending emails to project collaborators; completing DC Cat Count project forms to indicate interest in volunteering, placing a camera on private property, or making a donation; completing forms required to process activities related to the Humane Rescue Alliance shelter operations, including surrender, stray drop off, and adoption; or in response to direct solicitation for information about pet ownership or an individual’s other cat-related activities. Personal information, including names associated with addresses, will never be shared outside of the group of project collaborators, collectively known as the Governance Committee, or researchers responsible for analysis of a particular project component.

During the project, raw data will only be used for project purposes and will not be shared beyond the Governance Committee and associated researchers, though aggregated data may be made available to the public via publications intended to inform of the progress of project efforts. Upon the conclusion of the project, plus one year, raw data may be shared outside of the group, but only with the expressed consent of the Governance Committee and with the stipulation that personal information will not be included in the shared data.

Camera trap component:

Property owners who agree to have a camera placed on their property give permission for project representatives to access the property at a mutually-agreed upon time for the purpose of installation and removal of the camera. Cameras are infrared activated and collect still photographs with associated time and location data. The property owner consents to the collection of photographs and data related to the research, including the property owner’s name, property address, and GPS coordinates of the location of the camera on the owner’s property.

Cameras will be placed at knee-height and may capture photographs of wildlife and cats. Images of humans may be inadvertently collected, but will be permanently blurred automatically upon import into the repository. Cameras are only equipped to capture photographs, not video. All photographs will be stored in a repository, to which only project managers have access, and are embargoed for the duration of the project, plus one year (est. 2022). SCBI shall retain the photographs and data for the duration of the research and delete all personal information of the Site Owner at the conclusion of the project.  At the conclusion of the project, plus one year, all photographs of cats and wildlife will be made public via the eMammal website. Location data related to the cats will be obscured to the nearest city block. Any photographs containing blurred images of humans will remain in the private repository and will not be released to the public.

Site Owner grants this permission on a voluntary basis and Site Owner has neither received or expects to receive any form of compensation in exchange for this permission.  Site Owner understands that the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) which is implementing the camera trap component, owns all right, title and interest in the photographs and data collected under this Permission and Release. Site Owner understands that SCBI intends to publish or otherwise disseminate and use the results of its research.

Shelter data component:

The Humane Rescue Alliance collects data related to all activities conducted via its shelter operations, including intake and outcome of animals and the personal information of individuals involved in those activities. For the purpose of the DC Cat Count Project, various data related to cat intakes and outcomes that is collected via normal shelter operations is made available to project collaborators and the independent researcher responsible for analysis of this portion of the project. This includes cat demographic information and location information associated with both the cat’s intake and outcome. Intake location data is the approximate address of where the cat was found, if originally a stray, or the address of the home the cat lived in previously, if an owner surrender. Outcome location data is the address where the animal is released, if a community cat, or the address of the home into which the cat is adopted or returned to owner. No personally identifiable information is shared along with this location data.