Arizona’s oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter has been serving the state for over 30 years, and now they need your help.

Rachel Ray, host of the popular TV show of the same name, is hosting Mutt Madness – a contest for animal shelters around the nation. To enter the contest the shelters had to submit an essay and 64 finalists were chosen. The Arizona Animal Welfare League and Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AAWL/SPCA) was one of those finalists.

Each week, for six weeks, the shelters will be paired in a voting grid, similar to the basketball tournament March Madness. Supporters vote for their favorite shelter, and the winners of each week’s pairings will move on to the next round. For each week a shelter stays in the competition they get $1,000 and the grand prize is $50,000 and an appearance on the Rachel Ray Show. Once it is down to the final two shelters the winner will be decided by a panel of four judges, including Ray.

“The money would go toward a lot of things we want to do to make the shelter better” said Tina Eacret, director of volunteer, services and events. “We would like to get new kennel doors and possibly expand.”

AAWL/SPCA was founded in 1971 by Amanda Blake, from Gunsmoke. It is made up of around 50 paid staffers and 250 volunteers. Animals at AAWL/SPCA are usually ones that have been saved from euthanasia lists from different shelters.

“Sadly we are a limited intake shelter,” Eacret said. “We only have so much space available.”

There are many educational opportunities provided by AAWL/SPCA, especially among elementary-age children. They help kids understand the importance of caring for animals; they also have a few exotic animals, such as iguanas, ferrets and cockatiels, to use for education.

All money for this organization comes from private donations, they receive no government funding. Any bit of money helps, which is why this competition is so important for them. People are allotted one vote per week at aawl.org. The final round of voting is Nov. 16, so if you are interested in helping out log in and cast your vote.

“Winning would mean so much to us – we need votes,” Eacret said.

 

Brandi Bell is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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