Katherine Heigl gives $1 mil to animal cause

11:20 AM PST 09/23/2010 by Leslie Bruce, AP

VIDEO: Aims to eliminate killing of L.A. shelter dogs and cats

Television and film actress Katherine Heigl announced Thursday at a press conference in Los Angeles that she would be pledging $1 million to spay and neuter programs in the city and county of Los Angeles.

The star of Warner Bros.' upcoming film "Life As We Know It" is kicking off a pet initiative, in association with the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, to increase awareness and help curb the pet population crisis.

"What's happening is not only inhumane and morally reprehensible, it's economically irresponsible," Heigl said. "Killing is not a solution."

In addition to the contribution to spay and neuter programs, the JDHF will continue to support Learn to be a Best Friend (a training and education obedience program); transport programs moving animals from local shelters where they would be euthanized to humane societies, rescue organizations and "no kill" shelters; and continue to promote pet adoption.

"I think we have to work a little harder and call ourselves a dog lover country," Cesar Millan of National Geographic Channel's "The Dog Whisperer" said, joining Heigl on the podium at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. "Never work against mother nature."

Each year 500,000 animals are sheltered and euthanized in California, costing the state $250 million. "Most people are unaware of what's happening," Heigl said. "We can start to change the existing paradigm."

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