The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that nearly 44,000 dogs and cats were adopted in the first two months of the 2014 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, an increase of 9,198 over the same period last year. A total of $600,000 in prize grants is up for grabs to help shelters save more homeless cats and dogs.

“The second month of the 2014 contest was quite possibly the best month we’ve ever seen in the history of the $100K Challenge,” says Bert Troughton, vice president of community outreach at the ASPCA. “July 2014 saw the highest increase in lives saved – 9,198 – since the contest began back in 2010. These 50 shelters should be incredibly proud of what their hard work has accomplished.”

The 50 contestants are working to save more animals during the months of June, July and August 2014 than they did over the same three-month period in 2013. Last year’s competing shelters saved more than 56,000 cats and dogs during the contest, an increase of 12,050 over the same period in 2012.

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 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 information about the 2014 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, please visit