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Kent County Animal Shelter urges community to "give a click" in $100K challenge

KCAS needs enough online votes in the ASPCA/Rachael Ray Challenge to qualify for a shot at the grand prize.
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How to help KCAS in ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge

What: Qualifying heat for the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. 

When: Today at noon through April 16

Where:, search for Kent Count Animal Shelter

How: First-time voters will be required to validate their email address by replying to an ASPCA email. After that, voters may vote once per day without having to register/validate.

At stake: KCAS must garner enough votes to make the top 50 (of 108 participating shelters) in the qualifying heat and have a chance at winning the $100,000 grand prize


/Courtesy of KCAS

Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) has a way for the community to help shelter animals in Kent County, even if they don't have the time to volunteer or the money to donate.

A simple click of the mouse over the next 11 days, they urge, can do a world of good for the dogs and cats at KCAS. From noon today until April 16, KCAS is participating in the first round of the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.

KCAS, one of 108 shelters nationwide participating and one of only three in Michigan, is asking for the support -- make that votes -- of West Michigan in the qualifying round to advance to the Challenge. To help KCAS make the top 50 in the qualifying heat and get to the Challenge, voters can go to starting at noon today and find the Kent County Animal Shelter.

Voters will need to enter their email address only during the first time that they vote, and will then be sent a confirmation email. They'll then click on the confirmation in order to vote. Once that is done, supporters are set to vote once per day until April 16 without having to be confirmed each time.

If KCAS gets enough votes to make it into the top 50 in the qualifying heat, it will then be "challenged" to save at least 300 more cats, kittens, dogs and puppies from August to October this year than in those same three months of 2011.

The shelter that shows the biggest increase in the number of lives saved will win the $100,000 grand prize, courtesy of the ASPCA and philanthropist, animal advocate and television star Rachael Ray.

Even if it doesn't win the grand prize, KCAS will have a shot to win other much-needed monetary prizes:

  • $25,000 to the shelter with the second greatest increase in lives saved
  • $25,000 to the shelter that does the best job of engaging its community
  • $20,000 to the contestants that increase lives saved the most in their divisions
  • $10,000 to the contestants that increase percentage of lives saved the most in their divisions
  • $5,000 to every contestant that increases lives saved by at least 300 animals.

Carly Luttmann, KCAS program supervisor, said "saving" an animal by the $100K Challenge definition can be done in several ways. If an animal is adopted from KCAS, transferred to another facility (and adopted from there), reclaimed by their owner or reclaimed in the field (returned to owners by animal control officers), it will be considered a "saved" animal.

Only saved animals that represent an increase over the previous year for that month will count toward the Challenge goal. KCAS last August had 37 adoptions, 43 reclaimed animals and 70 transfers (150 total). This August, 151 saved animals would count as only 1 on the Challenge dashboard (the increase over August 2011).

The total saved animals at KCAS for September last year was 189, while October was 184. To meet the Challenge goal of increasing by 300 saved animals, the animal shelter will need to total at least 823 saved animals from August through October.

Luttmann said she is confident her staff will come up with some innovative ways to get people in the doors and increase their saved animal numbers. But, first things first, she warned.

"We have to get in first ... we have to get the votes," Luttmann said. "People can vote every day, and it's important they understand they'll get that email from ASPCA to validate their email address. They have to reply to that in order to vote."

While Luttmann would love to win $100,000 -- or any amount -- for KCAS, she sees the bigger picture.

"To me, it's more about getting the word out about our adoption program so people realize they can adopt pets from the animal shelter," Luttmann said. "This is something fun and exciting, to utilize social media to get the word out a little more. It's super easy, and any money we do win will be used to bolster the programs we have -- adoption, spay/neuter and community awareness of responsible pet ownership -- to make things better.

"The real winners will be the critters. We can get more people to know that we're seriously committed to placing animals in new homes."

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