The ASPCA helps animals in a lot of different ways—from rescuing them from cruelty to spaying or neutering them or advocating on their behalves. What it all boils down to is that we are in the business of trying to save as many lives as we can. To that end, we sponsor the ASPCA $100K Challenge where the contestants compete to save animals and the winners receive money to continue their successful programs.
This year’s $100K Challenge launched in April. Animal shelters that wanted to compete had to qualify by getting online votes, with the top 50 vote-getters qualifying to participate. Contestants then worked to save at least 300 more animals during the months of August, September and October than they did over the same period last year.
How did they do? Amazingly well. The $100K contestants saved 52,484 dogs and cats in just three months—8,977 more lives than last year.
Think about that staggering number. If you think about how much your dog or cat means to you and how much value he or she adds to your life, imagine the significance of being able to save tens of thousands of animals like yours in just three months.
Rising to the Challenge
This week we announced the winners of the $100K Challenge. Frankly, every competitor saved lives and was a winner, but we awarded prizes to the groups that had the biggest increases in lives saved.
Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, Texas won the Grand Prize, and the ASPCA was proud to award them $100,000 to continue their stellar lifesaving work.
As you can imagine, this has not been the easiest year for shelters. Many people are having economic difficulties. Our contestants proved that despite the tough economy, people love animals and are willing to step up to save lives.
But Austin had challenges that other communities did not, so the fact that they won is even more impressive. During the three-month contest, Austin was gripped with historically bad weather—record-breaking heat, drought conditions and wildfires.
Austin Pets Alive! rose above the challenges Mother Nature hurled at the community. When the air conditioning went down in the building housing homeless dogs on a particularly sweltering night, volunteers took all of the 50 dogs in that building into their own homes so that not one would have to suffer.
Austin Pets Alive!’s no-kill mission was put to the test by prolonged natural disasters, and they responded by saving 1,673 cats and dogs in just three months’ time—an increase of 850 cats and dogs from the same time period in 2010. We look forward to APA! saving even more animals next year through our grant.
Other communities that won awards all used hard work and creativity to save more lives. Congratulations to our second prize winner and southeast regional prize winner, the Humane Society of South Mississippi (Gulfport, Miss.), which won a total of $45,000; our Community Engagement Award winner, Humane Society for Greater Savannah (Savannah, Ga.), which won $25,000; and our other regional award winners: Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (Lewiston, Maine), City of Independence Animal Services (independence, Mo.), and Ramona Humane Society (San Jacinto, Calif.), each of which won $20,000.
I can’t wait to see how many animals will be saved in the ASPCA’s 2012 $100K Challenge! Stay tuned!