august adoption day 026[8]
Team Rachael

Shelter Story: How Hundreds of Pets Found a Home

The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, in its fifth and final year, has enabled shelters around the country to find homes for hundreds of thousands of pets since 2010. Hosted in partnership with our friends at the ASPCA, it challenges top shelters to be even better and race to save as many lives as they can, improving over their numbers from the previous year.

“If you adopt from an animal shelter, you know you’re giving an animal a second chance at life. And you’re giving an animal a home that they might have never had before,” says JoAnne Jackson, director of operations for the Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) in Houston.

JoAnn and CAP’s Executive Director, Kappy Muenzer, know a thing or two about helping shelter pets find new homes. Last year, CAP helped hundreds of animals find new families in the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. So many, in fact, that they saved 625 more lives than the same time in 2012, and they even won their division.

Even though they’re veterans in the animal welfare world, they challenged themselves and their team to bring new life to the way they ran adoption events. And it worked.

Photo courtesy of Citizens for Animal Protection

Photo courtesy of Citizens for Animal Protection

“We just were adopting animals left, right, and center,” JoAnn said.

According to Kappy, the shelter tried everything from fun events like only charging $17.76 for adoptions on the Fourth of July and free cats on Mother’s Day and free dogs on Father’s day, to participating in Houston’s Pride Parade, where they passed out 50 percent-off coupons to the crowd. But the most effective events were fee-waived, where animals went to loving homes for no cost (Note: Applicants still went through the same screening process to receive their pets).

This not only helped more animals get into loving homes, but the new pet parents were able to spend the money that would have gone towards adoption on necessary supplies (or even a donation to the shelter!) instead, Kappy said. The no-fee events were underwritten by West Houston Subaru, a local dealership with whom they still partner to this day.

It’s this attitude of creativity and hard work that helps shelters across the country give pets in need another shot at happiness.

“Sometimes we have animals coming in that are injured, sick, neglected. Being able to take these animals in and watch them heal, and then be able to place them in a new home, that to me is the most rewarding.”

P.S. Love animals? Don’t forget to enter the “I Rescued My Pet” contest with an awesome photo of you and your adopted pet for a chance to win a Rachael Ray prize pack worth $400!

[Top image courtesy of Citizens for Animal Protection]

3 Responses to “Shelter Story: How Hundreds of Pets Found a Home”

  1. I have 2 mother cats and 10 babies. I just got a letter from the health dept complaining about the cat food dishes outside in front of my house. They claim rodents are coming there. How am I suppose to feed them The The shelter here said do not feed them and they will 10 days old. I cant catch the mothers I need help. I wish someone would come here to help catch the 2 mothers and take the them with the babies. Please there are 5 other stray cats. I seen too many oif them die or someone hurt them. Please Please help me with them. I am on unemployment and just about pay bills. I have 8 medications that cost most of my check. My house is on the verge of being foreclosed. My husband makes $8.25 an hr and works part time.Please contact me asap and do not show this on tv no one in my family especially my kids about the house. They have their own issues. Rita Castella [Phone number redacted by editor]

  2. Michelle Paulsen says:

    I can relate to Rita Castella. I have 10 cats living in back garage. I was feeding some of the strays already. It started last Sept. a mom cat found an open window and brought her 2 kittens in and it was a very cold winter..they survived. Then in March she came back around with 4 more kittens, and one her older cats had 5 kittens, we got rid of 2. But, they are here to stay… I feed and water them 3 times a day..I just wish we could afford to get them all fixed..the only thing I can do is bring them to a farm we know we can them to… It just breaks my heart that we can’t keep them here and fix them all….I wish I could win the lottery cuz I would build my own shelter and get all the strays off the street…and of course any animal that is in need of help…. I love animals…If someone can help Please.. let me know ASAP…Thanks . Michelle Paulsen

  3. Kareen says:

    This is the downside of Rachel adopt a pet contest….read on.

    Status Update

    By Animal Rescue of Fresno

    When Good Intentions Go Bad….Meet Misha. ARF was contacted by the person that adopter her from the CCSPCA during this low cost/no cost push to win the Rachel Ray contest, because she said her legs looked funny and didn’t know if something had happened to them. I asked for pictures and said we’d go from there. Well, the pictures sent me through the roof because obviously this little girl has broken legs. The adopter called because she could not financially care for her nor could she afford the 60.00 to return her to the CCSPCA. This post will more than likely anger many of you. As the situation has angered us. The Non-Profit rescues are already starting to feel the affects of the low/no cost adoption fees. Calls to relinquish come in every day. Misha’s case is probably not singular. There will be many inadequate homes that have adopted because they could never afford the fees before. The Adoption Fees not only help the Non-Profits, like us, that have zero government funding, to recoup some of the costs to run a Rescue but also help weed out people that cannot provide the proper care. Animals require more than food and water. In this girls case…not sure that was even adequate. Misha is just back from her first surgery. Since her legs had been broken two weeks apart from one another there will be two different types of surgery required. We have treated the most recent break and once healed then we will go back to have the other one treated. Our costs are already near $1,000.00 we will more than likely be well over $2,000.00 when all is said and done. So yes, we are asking for the community to help us with donations. If you would like to donate to Misha you can PayPal donations to or visit our website for the PayPal link and put her name in the memo field. You can also send checks via snail mail to ARF 4545 E Dakota Ave, Fresno, CA 93726. We will be at the Pinnacle Pup Run tomorrow morning at Woodward Park and you can swing by and see us. Misha will be convalescing in the ARF office until cleared by the vet to be allowed more activity. Our hours of adoption are Wed. 3 to 6 PM and FRI, SAT, SUN 11 am to 3 pm.

Leave a Reply