D.C.

'Best in Shelter' virtual dog show gives shelter pets the spotlight

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You've heard of 'Best in Show', but what about 'Best in Shelter'?

The first virtual dog show is putting four Washington-area animal shelters in the national spotlight while finding happy homes for their residents.

For now, it's business as usual at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Soon, however, some of their four-legged friends will become internet celebrities.

The four shelter will each submit short videos of four adoptable pets. Viewers will get to decide the winner.

Neil Trent, executive director of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, said, "We'll be out there with all our makeup, trying to make the animals as pretty as possible."

"We plan on winning, and we know our dogs are going to ham it up. We're going to pick some movie stars," added Barbara Hutcheson, adoptions coordinator and medical director for the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation.

Hutcheson said the exposure is priceless.

Sixty-two percent of all U.S. households have a pet, but only 25 percent of cats and dogs come from shelters.

Washington, D.C. Lanai Butler said, "It brings awareness, cause I'm a web surfer myself ...That's a great idea. I just love the idea."

Aside from finding the competitors a forever home, the competition also has a financial benefit.

The winning shelter will take home $50,000, second prize is $25,000, with the third place shelter taking $15,000.

Voting for "Best in Shelter" will be held from June 14 until June 17.

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