More than 18,000 Pets Saved

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The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) today announced that 18,336 pets were adopted or reunited with their owners during the first month of the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, a three-month competition where 49 animal shelters from across the country are working to increase adoptions in order to win a piece of the more than $600,000 in ASPCA prize grants, including a grand prize of $100,000.

During the first month of the contest, many shelters tried out new methods of driving traffic to their adoption centers – many held big adoption events, unique promotions and discounts on adoption fees, and more.

"Month one of the contest has been a thrill to watch, with many of the contestants breaking their own records," said Bert Troughton, vice president of community outreach for the ASPCA. "The City of Corpus Christi Animal Care Services of Texas, for example, boasted more adoptions in one day than in the past five years for the entire month of June. Over at Humane Society of Pinellas of Florida, their June 13 adoptions total matched the number of adoptions in all of June of last year, despite being closed for a day and a half due to Tropical Storm Andrea. On June 22 and 23, Lost Dog & Cat Rescue of Virginia adopted out more animals than they ever have in a weekend, finding homes for 91 dogs and cats at an adoption event. Moreno Valley Animal Shelter in California saw a 79 percent increase in the number of adoptions during the first Saturday in June compared to last year. Animal Rescue League of Boston in Massachusetts scored more than twice as many adoptions the first weekend of June as they did the same month last year. And these are just some of the amazing stories we've heard after only one month of the contest."

The 49 contestants are working to save more animals – during the months of June, July and August 2013 – than they did over the same three-month period in 2012. Last year's competing shelters saved more than 56,000 cats and dogs during the contest, an increase of 14,376 over the same period in 2011.

The ASPCA and Rachael Ray will award a $100,000 grand prize to the shelter contestant that achieves the greatest increase in lives saved during this three-month period. The contestant that does the best job of engaging its community members in helping to save more animals will win $25,000. Those organizations that do the best in their divisions will be eligible for between $10,000 and $25,000 in additional grants. In total, $600,000 in grant funding will be awarded for increases in animal lives saved, as well as a photo contest and general participation.

All her life, Rachael Ray has been an advocate for animals and a supporter of animal welfare groups. Her love for animals and for her pit bull, Isaboo, inspired her to create a pet food called Nutrish® to raise money for animals in need.  Ray donates a portion of her proceeds from the sale of Nutrish to organizations like the ASPCA so they can implement programs like the $100K Challenge and support shelters and animal organizations around the country.

The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is a groundbreaking contest that challenges animal shelters across the country to come up with innovative ways to engage their communities and get more homeless cats and dogs into loving homes. For more information about the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, please visit aspca.org/100K.