And The Winner Is ….

There will be an interesting and hopefully revealing meeting tonight in Canonsburg.

At 7pm at the Canonsburg Eagles lodge, the Washington County Humane Society will explain why they failed to win a million dollar makeover contest sponsored by the website For those of you not familiar with the contest, the pet-friendly site offered a million dollar makeover to the animal shelter which got the most people in its community to visit the site during a six-month period ending in March.

Sounds like an easy contest .. at least that is what we thought. After months of voting – and more than a few stories in the local media urging people to vote for WCHS shelter – they finished in first place in the nation. However, WCHS did not win the first prize. They did not even make the top three finalists. They did receive a ten thousand dollar prize though .. and that is nothing to sneeze at for this shelter which takes care of over 50 dogs and more than 100 cats.

Looking at the contest rules this morning ( the fine print in this case ), deciding the winner is not so clear cut. By accumulating the most votes, WCHS only qualified for consideration. Seems the top 20 vote-getters from 974 shelters nation-wide qualify as “finalists”. From there, each of those “finalists” will go through an evaluation from a panel of judges including members of the Shelter Planners of America. It was at their discretion as to which shelter was most deserving of the million dollar makeover – and obviously, they did not feel WCHS was a deserving shelter.

I’m sure tonight WCHS will try to explain the rules of the contest – and how they fell short in their efforts and how happy they are to receive the $10K prize as a finalist. However, I’m not all that impressed with this “contest” in which the grass-roots efforts of WCHS were not rewarded and the outcome was decided by a “special panel” which used a criteria they failed to divulge to choose their winner.  While I’m not here to cast judgment on this contest, I would say that they should have been more clear in what the contest criteria were and just how much influence we have as voters. In the final analysis, this contest is designed just to get people to visit the zootoo website … and in that, it was a success.


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