Baltimore's biggest and neediest animal shelter is on the verge of winning big bucks in a national competition.
The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, entered in the ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, has been inching past the competition all week, creeping from 12th place, to seventh to fifth, its current spot.
The chronically underfunded shelter cares for many of the city's most neglected dogs and cats. When Phoenix was found fatally burned after being doused with lighter fluid and set on fire in 2009, her first stop for treatment was BARCS.
When two brothers were found not guilty of abusing the young pit bull this week, BARCS Executive Director Jennifer Brause said: "Phoenix was an amazing animal with strength far greater than many of us will ever know. Let's honor her memory by celebrating the lives of our own companion animals, and by teaching our children and each other the value in every life."
Baltimore winning the $100,000 in the name of Phoenix would also do her memory proud.
Today BARCS is in fifth place in the contest with just over 11,000 votes. It's already bested dozens and dozens of other competitors. The current front-runner, a shelter in Indianapolis, has just over 18,000 votes.
Voting ends at 11:50 p.m. Monday April 16. So Baltimore has four days to catch up.
Nearly every animal advocate in town, as well as some other big names, have been rallying for votes. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tweeted about it. So did Maryland' Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, First Mariner Arena and Visit Baltimore.
People can vote once a day on every email account they have.