A new gaming app for iOS allows users to race animals through a variety of virtual worlds while helping save real-life animals in American shelters.

As users play Animal Rescue Rush, a portion of the revenue made from advertisements users see will be donated to participating shelters.

"The money will be split evenly among the charities and each can have access anytime to our ad accounts to ensure we are being fair to everyone," said game creator Ben Murray. "Also, we will be making a public transparency page, showing how much the app has donated so future users will know what it is about."

About 7.6 million animals enter U.S. shelters each year, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and 2.7 million of those are euthanized annually.

Animal Rescue Rush has partnered with four charities — Marley’s Mutts, Black Cat Rescue, North East Animal Shelter, and Cat House on the Kings — and Murray says he plans to work with other animal-rescue organizations in the future.

To play the game, users select an animal character to race and then choose a world to play in. Users have the option of racing against the clock or playing against friends.

As they maneuver through the multiple worlds, users collect items like boosters, power-ups, and pet treats to go faster and unlock new powers.

Murray says he created the game because while he found other pet-rescue apps, none were very engaging. He hopes Animal Rescue Rush will inspire other organizations to "think outside the box" to raise money for charities.

Animal Rescue Rush is available for download from the Apple App Store, and Murray hopes an Android version will be available by the end of the month.

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Have a need for speed? Racing app raises funds for animal shelters as you play
Animal Rescue Rush allows users to play a racing game on their smartphones while earning money for animal shelters.