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Nationwide Adoption Contest Down to Final Weeks

Posted: Aug. 19, 2013, 4:40 p.m. EDT


Animal shelters in Texas, Arizona, California and the District of Columbia are leading their divisions entering the final month of the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.

The annual contest tests the ability of animal shelters nationwide to find homes for more cats and dogs than the groups did the previous year. More than $600,000 in grants will be awarded, including a grand prize of $100,000.

The $100K Challenge, which ends Aug. 31, led to 36,790 cats and dogs being placed in new homes through July. The 2012 contest finished with more than 56,000 cats and dogs saved, an increase of 14,376 over the same three-month period in 2011.

 Cat and Dog
More than 38,000 animals were adopted as of Aug. 19 in the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.
Many of the 49 competing shelters have tried everything from special events to fee discounts to drive traffic to their adoption centers.

"Not only are both the shelters and animals winning, but so are the new families,” said Bert Troughton, vice president of community outreach at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a contest sponsor. "We've heard from hundreds of new adopters who have submitted entries to this year’s photo contest, proudly showing off photos of their newly adopted family pets.”

The leaders as of Aug. 1 were Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, D.C. (Division 1), Texas Humane Heroes in Leander, Texas (Division 2), HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix (Division 3), Citizens for Animal Protection in Houston (Division 4) and the Riverside County Department of Animal Services in Jurupa Valley, Calif. (Division 5).

Washington Animal Rescue League reported Sunday that it oversaw the adoption of 638 animals since June 1, a record for the oldest animal shelter in the District of Columbia.

"I am extremely proud of the great team effort from our staff, volunteers and our supporters, but most of all our adopters,” said Bob Ramin, the group’s CEO. "The Washington, D.C., region is a wonderful area for animal adoption. ... We hope to realize our goal of 800 animal adoptions over the summer.”

One successful promotion used at Washington Animal Rescue League is Adopt-a-thon, the last of which will take place Aug. 24 and 25 at the Oglethorpe Street shelter. Discounted adoption fees will be charged: $100 for puppies under 6 months old, $50 for older dogs and $6 for cats and kittens. All the animals have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.

The $100K Challenge will award $100,000 to the shelter that achieves the greatest increase in lives saved. The shelter that engages community members the best will win $25,000. Division winners will be eligible for $10,000 to $25,000 in additional grants.

The Humane Society of Midland County in Michigan won the $100K Challenge photo contest, earning a $5,000 grant.

Celebrity cook and animal advocate Rachael Ray, who produces a line of food and treats for dogs, lends her name to the $100K Challenge and assists in its funding and promotion.

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