Celebrities, Los Angeles animal lovers and their dogs turned out in droves to strut their stuff for Best Friends Animal Society’s Strut Your Mutt at Woodley Park in Van Nuys.
Strut Your Mutt is a multi-million dollar fundraiser benefiting hundreds of shelters and rescue groups with similar events across the country. Sunday’s event in Los Angeles drew thousands of participants in support of animal welfare organizations in the area, including Best Friends Animal Society.
Actress Rachelle Lefevre, star of the popular CBS television series “Under the Dome,” was one of several Best Friends celebrity ambassadors at the event. “The animal rescue community is made up of so many tireless people working with multiple organizations,” Lefevre said. “Not only does Strut Your Mutt raise money and awareness for an amazing cause, it also brings people from different groups together to celebrate their progress and share their passion for animals.”
This year’s nationwide fundraising goal set by event organizer Best Friends Animal Society for 240 local animal shelters and rescue groups is $2 million. Donations raised through Strut Your Mutt helps fund adoptions, spay/neuter services, and other life-saving programs, ultimately impacting the number of pets entering and leaving the shelters. Last year, $1.3 million was raised for some 180 groups.
Strut Your Mutt allows participants to raise funds online in advance, then celebrate together with fellow animal lovers and multiple rescue groups/shelters during and following the walk. Sunday’s event featured entertainment by emcee and comedian Rebecca Corry, an appearance by the Los Angeles Laker Girls, activities such as doggie yoga and massage, paw readings, and food trucks. Sponsors included BarkBox, Bob Smith MINI of Calabasas, Natural Balance, Petco Foundation and Petfinder.com.
Celebrity spouses Seamus and Juliana Dever, who play a married couple on “Castle,” enjoyed the festivities. “We are so happy to see all these local rescue groups come together for a common cause,” said Juliana Dever. “It's also amazing to see so many rescue dogs that now have forever homes.”
“Strut Your Mutt is a great fundraiser and a fun way to bring attention to the cause of making Los Angeles a no kill city,” said Seamus Dever.
Other celebrities in attendance included Miguel Ferrer (“NCIS: Los Angeles”), Hartley Sawyer (“The Young and the Restless”), Concetta Tomei (“Necessary Roughness”), Emma Kenney (“Shameless”), Shannon Elizabeth (“American Pie”), Brandon McMillan (“Lucky Dog”), Jes Macallen (“Mistresses”), Jason Gray Stanford (“Monk”), Tony Denison (“Major Crimes”) and celebrity trainer/fitness expert Ashley Borden.
The Los Angeles Strut Your Mutt also served as the launching pad for Best Friends’ national call to action Save Them All, which focuses on ending the killing of shelter pets in America.
“When we started Best Friends, the conventional wisdom was that killing homeless pets was an unfortunate but unavoidable fact of life,” said Gregory Castle, Best Friends’ chief executive officer. “Back then, every day, some 45,000 animals were being killed in our nation’s shelters. Best Friends was one of the very first organizations to challenge the idea that killing animals in shelters was acceptable. And the number has dropped to 9,000 every day, but that number can be zero and should be.”
For close to 30 years, Best Friends Animal Society has been working to reduce the number of deaths and put an end to this senseless killing once and for all, Castle continued. “We believed then and believe now that together we can save them all. Strut Your Mutt is a celebratory way for the shelters and groups to come together and invite the public to join them and Best Friends in the fight to save shelter animals’ lives,” Castle said.
About Best Friends Animal Society®
Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. An authority and leader in the no-kill movement since its founding in 1984, Best Friends runs the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as life-saving programs in partnership with rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to 4 million. No other animal welfare organization has the knowledge, technical expertise and on-the-ground network to end the killing and Save Them All™. http://www.bestfriends.org
About Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles
Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles is working collaboratively with animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals who are all dedicated to the mission of making Los Angeles a no-kill city. As part of this mission, Best Friends hosts adoption and fundraising events, runs the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay Neuter Center in Mission Hills, and leads the NKLA initiative. http://www.bestfriends.org/la
NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) is a coalition of animal welfare organizations, city shelters and passionate individuals, led by Best Friends Animal Society. NKLA is dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in L.A. shelters by providing spay/neuter services where they are needed most so fewer animals go into shelters, and increasing adoptions through the combined efforts of the NKLA coalition so more animals come out of the shelters and go into new homes. In 2012, the coalition's first year of existence, L.A. shelter deaths decreased 12 months in a row, culminating in 4,200 fewer animals killed than in the year prior. Also in 2012, the NKLA Coalition facilitated 23,421 adoptions and 4,458 spay/neuter surgeries were performed. http://www.nkla.org