The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) today announced that applications are now open in the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, with $600,000 in prize grants to help shelters save more homeless cats and dogs.Applications will open January 3 at 3 p.m. EST. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis until Wednesday, January 23 at 11:59 p.m. EST or until each division has 10 confirmed contestants, as well as a wait-list contestant, whichever comes first.Shelters whose applications are accepted will go on to compete in the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, where they will work to save more animals – during the months of June, July and August 2013 – than they did over the same three-month period in 2012. Last year’s competing shelters saved more than 56,000 cats and dogs during the contest, an increase of 14,376 over the same period in 2011.“Each group of competing shelters has out-done their own numbers and the results of prior years’ contestants,” says Bert Troughton, vice president of Community Outreach at the ASPCA. “This is why we’re so excited about working with the next group of 50 shelters to help them save even more lives.”The ASPCA and Rachael Ray will award a $100,000 grand prize to the shelter contestant that achieves the greatest increase in lives saved during this three-month period. The contestant that does the best job of engaging its community members in helping to save more animals will win $25,000. Those organizations that do the best in their divisions will be eligible for between $10,000 and $25,000 in additional grants. In total, $600,000 in grant funding will be awarded for increases in animal lives saved, as well as a photo contest and general participation.All her life, Rachael Ray has been an advocate for animals and a supporter of animal welfare groups. Her love for animals and for her pit bull, Isaboo, inspired her to create a pet food called Nutrish to raise money for animals in need. Ray donates 100 percent of her proceeds from the sale of Nutrish to organizations like the ASPCA so they can implement programs like the $100K Challenge and support shelters and animal organizations around the country.The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is a groundbreaking contest that challenges animal shelters across the country to come up with innovative ways to engage their communities and get more homeless cats and dogs into loving homes. To apply to participate in the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, click here.