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Houston Mayor Annise Parker Kicks Off BARC’s Effort to Reach 2,100 Pet Adoptions in ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge 2012

HOUSTON – Today, Houston Mayor Annise Parker joined BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions to launch an all out effort to win the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge by saving more lives than ever. It will take 2,100 dog and cat adoptions for BARC to win the $100,000 grand prize grant.

After earning enough votes in April’s Qualifying Heat challenge, BARC is one of 50 animal shelters across the nation competing in the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, and the only Houston shelter in the competition. From August 1 – October 31, each shelter will work to save at least 300 more lives than their shelter saved between August and October, 2011. The shelter with the greatest increase in lives saved compared to their previous year’s total will win the $100,000 grand prize grant.

“BARC has taken incredible strides since its 2009 transformation. I am so proud of the staff and volunteers who have built it into what it is today,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “BARC is taking its effort to save Houston’s homeless animals to a whole new level. There is no reason Houston shouldn’t win this competition.”

In addition to their weekend off-site adoption events each month between now and October, BARC will host major adoption events to highlight their participation in the challenge and increase awareness about the organization’s role in the City of Houston. To gear up for the challenge, BARC is expanding online outreach efforts by producing videos and actively seeking opportunities to reach new audiences.

For example, BARC recently launched the “Find Your Spark at BARC” campaign, meant to illuminate BARC’s fun atmosphere and catch the attention of Houstonians that don’t yet know about the City of Houston’s animal shelter and adoption facility. The shelter also set up a YouTube channel to provide a convenient place for BARC fans to catch the latest from BARC: www.youtube.com/WeAreBARC. Additionally, BARC is constantly improving its outreach programs including foster training and pet wellness.

“The volunteers and staff at BARC cannot win the competition alone,” said Mayor Parker. “Let’s do whatever it takes to get 2,100 animals adopted before October 31. This is Houston’s chance to prove that we can be the live-saving capital of the nation!”

To kick off the challenge, BARC is hosting an Olympic-sized adoption event at its facility, located at 3200 Carr Street, Houston 77026 on Saturday, August 4. The adoption event will feature hundreds of potential pets and a pet parade at 1 p.m. Dogs can be adopted for $20 and cats for $10. BARC’s summer games begin promptly at 12 p.m. and will continue until 6 p.m. on August 4.

Throughout the competition, BARC plans to cut all normal adoption fees in half: Dogs will always be available for $37.50 and cats will be available for $15. Even lower adoption fees will be available during certain special events. Additional BARC adoption events scheduled over the next three months will be announced on BARC’s Facebook and the BARC website.

“We are excited that BARC is at a point where it can compete in a competition of this magnitude. A year ago, BARC would not have had the bandwidth to win or even compete in the challenge,” said Alfred Moran, Director of the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department, which oversees BARC. “Now we have staff and volunteers that work hard to improve BARC every single day and a community that stands firmly behind us. I have no doubt that we can win this.”

If BARC wins the challenge, it will dedicate the grant to a mobile adoption vehicle. Currently BARC hosts off-site adoptions at various locations throughout the city each weekend. Most of the locations are indoors to keep animals and staff from being exposed to extreme temperatures. With a mobile adoption vehicle BARC will travel greater distances throughout the city for adoptions and animal care.

“Houston may be spread out, but Houstonians come together well, and we’re counting on that to win this competition,” said Moran. “We are excited to bring BARC to Houstonians in all sorts of new and fun ways for this competition. It is going to be fun, and our animals will be the real winners. Let the adoptions begin!”

The two dogs pictured below have been adopted. The cat, Stormy, is still available for adoption. Stormy’s ID at BARC is A1088292.

For information, including directions and hours for BARC’s weekly off-site adoption events, visit http://www.houstontx.gov/barc/aap_adoption_events.php.

Mayor Parker and Mindy, BARC’s first adoption of the $100K Challenge

*Above* Mayor Parker and Mindy, BARC’s first adoption of the $100K Challenge at today’s press conference.

Mayor Parker speaks about BARC’s launch of the $100K Challenge in Houston.

*Above* Mayor Parker speaks about BARC’s launch of the ASPCA $100K Challenge in Houston.
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