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Katherine Heigl gives $1 million to animal cause

Actress Katherine Heigl, ShoWest Female Star of the Year, poses before the awards ceremony at the Paris Las Vegas during ShoWest, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, in Las Vegas, Nevada March 18, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Television and film actress Katherine Heigl said on Thursday pledged $1 million to spay and neuter programs in Los Angeles.

The star of Warner Bros.’ upcoming film “Life As We Know It” is kicking off a pet initiative to increase awareness and help curb the pet population crisis. Each year 500,000 animals without homes are sheltered and euthanized in California, costing the state $250 million.

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

The project is in association with the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, which was named after her brother who was killed in a car accident 24 years ago.

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.

Cesar Millan of National Geographic Channel’s “The Dog Whisperer” joined Heigl in the announcement.

“I think we have to work a little harder and call ourselves a dog lover country,” he said.

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