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Let There Be Dragons-led campaign spreads word: ‘Los Angeles can, will become no-kill by 2017'

Best Friends Animal Society's NKLA program designed to stop killing of homeless pets in Los Angeles city animal shelters within five years

LOS ANGELES - In an unprecedented effort to stop the killing of homeless shelter animals in Los Angeles, Let There Be Dragons and Best Friends Animal Society last night unveiled an edgy, groundbreaking advertising campaign that puts a face to the thousands of unknown animals dying in shelters throughout the city. The goal: eradicate the needless killing of animals in Los Angeles city shelters, where 17,000 healthy or adoptable animals were killed last year.

The campaign roll-out-which took place in front of a glitzy crowd of 500 at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard-revealed bold, soulful images of dogs and cats, designed to draw attention to the many animals killed each year in Los Angeles animal shelters, and at the same time provide hope that they will be saved. Among those in attendance were city officials, animal welfare leaders and Hollywood celebrities.

The year-in-the-making, pro-bono, multi-media effort-led by advertising legend and renowned animal lover, Lee Clow-supports the work of a broad coalition of animal rescue groups and shelters, formed and led by Best Friends Animal Society, with broad support from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the LA City Council, and LA City Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette.

Within the last few days, oversized images of individual dogs and cats with the graphically-edgy "NKLA" slogan next to the logo of Best Friends Animal Society have begun to appear at various locations throughout Los Angeles, some in the form of billboards and others through electronic projections.

NKLA, an acronym for "No Kill Los Angeles," is an initiative of Best Friends Animal Society, whose goal is to reduce and eventually stop the killing of homeless pets in shelters.

17,000 animals still being killed in LA city shelters

"Last year more than 17,000 healthy and adoptable pets were killed in LA and the plan is for us to bring that number down to zero," said Gregory Castle, co-founder and chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society. "We are forever grateful to Jennifer Golub and the Let There Be Dragons group and Lee Clow for stepping forward and helping us put together an incredibly powerful campaign that certainly will draw attention to the ongoing plight of animals in shelters."

Other elements of the campaign include a newly launched web site, a robust spay/neuter program targeting underserved areas, an intensive adoption campaign and a mobile spay/neuter van dubbed "The Neuter Cruiser," decorated with NKLA graphics.

"Best Friends for many years has demonstrated its selfless passion to create a world where every pet has a loving home," said Lee Clow. "For us to be able to contribute in a small way to their goal by giving voice to "No Kill LA" is an honor. And if we can achieve a city where shelters and our coalition of rescue groups can save the animals that now lose their lives every week, it will allow other cities to believe that this dream is possible."

Let There Be Dragons, which has donated time and resources to create the campaign, is a new content group from Omnicom Inc., which draws upon talent from TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Best Friends leads adoption, spay-neuter efforts out of Mission Hills shelter

A major point of intersection for the campaign is the Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Mission Hills, a unique public-private partnership between Best Friends Animal Society and the City of Los Angeles. The LA City Council earlier this year gave Best Friends Animal Society permission to operate an adoption center for animals from the six Los Angeles City shelters and a high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter center out of its Northeast Valley Animal Shelter location in Mission Hills. Completed in 2009 for approximately $20 million, the shelter had never opened to the public due to budget shortfalls.

Best Friends Animal Society held a news conference at the shelter Feb. 16 to signal the facility's official opening with the new name of Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center.

"We are extremely gratified with the initial reaction from the public about the facility and we're happy to see the number of people who are coming out to adopt animals and get their animals spayed or neutered," said Francis Battista, co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society who is interim executive director of NKLA.

"We are confident as we go forward more people will realize that they can adopt a great dog or cat at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center or any one of the LA city shelters."

Coalition works to reach goals by 2017

Through the collective work of the NKLA coalition, the plan is to boost adoptions and spay/neuter surgeries to reach a no-kill benchmark of 90 percent of all animals (or 100 percent of healthy or adoptable animals) that come into LA shelters. The coalition is striving to reach 3,000 adoptions and 6,000 spay/neuter surgeries to be completed in 2012. The coalition steering committee includes Found Animals Foundation, Kitten Rescue, Stray Cat Alliance, Downtown Dog Rescue, FixNation, Karma Rescue, and Best Friends.

Best Friends Animal Society will subsidize coalition partners for every pet adopted over the number adopted in the baseline reference year of 2010, as well as fund spay/neuter projects for pet owners who can't afford to have their pets fixed. Education about the importance of getting pets spayed and neutered is vital.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society, named Animal Welfare Non-Profit National Brand of the Year based on the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, is a national animal welfare organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

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