(BLOOMINGTON) - The Bloomington Animal Shelter is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in a competition with 104 other shelters to win $100,000 from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The qualifiers for the actual competition take place from now until April 16, and anyone age 13 and older can vote for the shelter once per day, said Laurie Ringquist, the director for Animal Care and Control in Bloomington, the organization that oversees the shelter.
Ringquist said right now, the Bloomington shelter is ranked first in the qualifiers to enter the competition.
"There's multiple steps to the process," Ringquist said. "The end of it is the actual challenge, and the challenge itself is in the months of August, September and
If the Bloomington shelter qualifies, its employees will work to save at least 300 more lives, Ringquist said.
Every shelter that manages to do this - through more adoptions, rescues and other tasks - will automatically get $5,000.
The shelter to save the most lives during the specified months wins the grand prize of $100,000.
Ringquist said the shelters are in the voting phase, in which community members must vote to keep their shelter in the running.
"The top five vote-getters in each of the five regions go into the challenge," she said.
Then the next 25 vote-getters are entered, as well, regardless of region. This means 50 shelters total will make up the competition in August.
People can vote by going to the website bloomington.in.gov/animalshelter, Ringquist said.
"Right on that page that you land on, there's a big logo that says, 'Vote,'" she said.
People can also go to votetosavelives.org and pick the shelter from a list of those entered or vote on the Bloomington shelter's Facebook page.
Ringquist said one important thing for voters to know is that the first time they vote, the ASPCA will email them to confirm that they are people rather than robots or voting machines meant to skew results.
"You have to confirm that email the first time you vote," Ringquist said. "After that, you can just vote every day."
Ringquist said the shelter already has some plans for what it will do with the money, if it is to receive the grand prize.
"Part of our shelter is very old and is in serious need of some renovations," she said.
"We could use at least some of the money to renovate some of the areas, making it more pleasant and healthier for the animals. We would probably use some of it to promote adoptions."
Ringquist said the community's response was pleasantly surprising for the shelter and that they found it incredible to currently be doing so well in the rankings.
"Right now, we are No. 1 in the country, which is amazing," Ringquist said.
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