Katherine Heigl, accompanied by the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation board, has started a major companion pet initiative called "The Compassion Revolution" in Los Angeles. Its mission is to unite groups and individuals under one banner, to create programs that will address the pet overpopulation crisis in the area, and to hopefully encourage similar programs across the nation.
To kick off the program, the Heigl Foundation announced a $1 million pledge for spay/neuter and supporting programs in the City and County of Los Angeles and neighboring communities.
The current statistics are incredible:
- The ASPCA estimates that 5 out of 10 shelter dogs and 7 out of 10 shelter cats are euthanized in America annually, mostly because the number of animals entering shelters is far greater than the number of animals being adopted from shelters.
- Between 6 - 8 million dogs and cats are abandoned at shelters in the United States per year.
- 500,000 companion animals are euthanized every year in California.
- Each year, Californian taxpayers spend $250 million to shelter and euthanize dogs and cats state-wide.
- In 2009, LA County shelters took in 83,252 cats and dogs, of which 50,692 were euthanized.
- In the same year, LA City shelters took in 54,129 dogs and cats. Of those, 19,547 were euthanized.
- Broad based spay/neuter initiative The Foundation is dedicating money to partner programs and clinics to fund reduced cost or free spay/neuter services to rescue animals and low income residents.
- Pit Bull and American Staffordshire Terrier spay/neuter program The Heigl Foundation will partner LA Animal Services and the County of LA Department of Animal Care and Control to establish 'The Apollo Initiative.' It will offer a no cost, 'no questions asked' spay/neuter, vaccination and micro-chipping services specifically for American Staffordshire Terriers, Pit Bull Breeds and mixes in certain zip codes.
- Training and Education Program Under the Compassion Revolution Initiative, the Foundation will subsidize the 'Learn to be a Best Friend' program, which will provide free basic obedience training and proper pet care education programs to the public. On completion of the class, residents will be able to register at participating City and County shelters and then receive a complimentary pet care gift package, donated by the Millan Foundation. The instruction will include a link back to low cost spay/neuter programs, local pet ownership laws, availability of low cost veterinary care, and the reality of giving a pet to a municipal shelter.
- Transport program The Heigl Foundation will continue to support and subsidize the transport of animals from local shelters (where they were scheduled to be euthanized) to pre-approved humane societies, rescue organizations and 'no-kill' shelters in an effort to relocate companion pets from overpopulated areas to those with fewer adoptable pets.
- Adoption The Foundation will also continue to promote the adoption of companion pets from local shelters and discourage the purchase of pets from pet stores that are supplied by commercial puppy factories known as puppy mills. Additionally, the Heigl Foundation will continue to subsidize adoption fees for those hoping to adoption animals that are at risk of imminent euthanasia.
The campaign's ultimate goal is to add Los Angeles to the growing number of cities that have achieved solutions to the pet overpopulation crisis that do not include euthanizing large numbers of animals.
For more information. please visit www.compassion-revolution.com.
Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/thegordo