About the Qualifying Heat

The Qualifying Heat is 12 days of online voting to select this year’s 50 official Challenge Contestants from up to 150 applicants.  Voting opens at Noon Eastern Time on Thursday, April 5 and closes at Midnight Eastern Time on Monday, April 16.

What Is The Purpose?

Our strategy is to help each competing shelter engage its community right from the start. From day 1, we want you to be able to generate interest, support and excitement—to increase the amount of energy and resources available from your community to save hundreds more lives. For roughly two weeks starting at the end of March, shelters all over the U.S. will reach out to their communities and say, “Help send us to the $100K Challenge by voting for our shelter!” Each shelter’s community will have from April 5 to April 16 to vote online —where each voter can cast one new ballot EVERY day. And that’s only the beginning...

Once your shelter qualifies as an official Contestant in the Challenge, you can go back to your community and say, “You helped us get in—now help us win!”

Questions about voting? Find the answers here.

Who Can Apply?

Applications for the Qualifying Heat are open to any and all shelters in the U.S. that:

  • are 501(c)(3) or government agencies
  • have an annual intake of 1,000 or more cats and dogs
  • spay/neuter all animals prior to adoption

All qualifying shelters MUST agree to the Rules of the contest.

Who will make it into the Challenge?

The 50 Official Challenge Contestants will be the 5 shelters with the most Qualifying Heat votes in each Division plus the 25 “best of the rest,” that is, the next 25 shelters with the most votes nationally, regardless of their Division. The five next shelters nationally will be offered a place on the Waiting List.