Animal Friends of the Valleys wants help in saving enough pets to win a cash prize that would go toward starting a nonprofit spay and neuter clinic.
The regional animal shelter, which opened in 2010 after 25 years of planning, is competing for the first time in The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rachael Ray 100K Challenge.
The challenge, which began Aug. 1 and ends Oct. 31, pits Animal Friends of the Valleys against 49 other animal shelters across the country for a grand prize of $100,000.
To win, the shelter is aiming to conduct 1,633 “live releases,” which includes not only pet adoptions but also returning microchipped or found animals to their owner. That total would be 300 more live releases than the number from the same period in 2011, when the shelter qualified for this year’s competition, said Ellen Bilney, director of shelter development.
“We want the public to know that every day is a meaningful opportunity to save lives,” Bilney said, adding that the shelter’s mission is to control animal population through spaying and neutering animals. “This competition is to benefit the community and all the animals that live here.”
The shelter is in Wildomar and provides animal control services to that city as well as Canyon Lake, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, Temecula and Menifee. On average, it takes in 4,000 dogs and 2,000 cats per year, Bilney said. The shelter also accepts other types of animals, such as rabbits and birds, during business hours and at the night surrender slots where the public can leave a rescued animal after hours.
The shelter provides community space for members of the public to meet and interact with potential pets, grieving space for those saying goodbye to a pet who must be euthanized, medical space for animals that need special attention, a maternity ward for expectant and just-realized mothers and their babies, covered outdoor play areas and grooming areas.
To spread awareness of the competition, Animal Friends will host adoption fairs at the shelter in August, September and October, as well as host the annual Wines for Canines event from 11 am to 2 pm Aug. 25 at Temeku Hills Country Club in Temecula. Tickets are $50 per person.
For tickets, visit www.animalfriendsofthevalleys.com or call Kirsti Peffers at 951-471-8344, ext. 217.
ANIMAL FRIENDS OF THE VALLEYS
WHERE: 33751 Mission Trail, Wildomar
HOURS: 10 am-4 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 10 am-7 pm Wednesday
INFO: 951-471-8344, www.animalfriendsofthevalleys.com