Last week saw a bunch of stars come out to celebrate the grand opening of the Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles.

Hilary Swank, Eric Roberts, Lisa Edelstein, Kristin Bauer, Rachelle Lefevre, Amy Smart and local hero Danny Trejo were all on hand at the event on February 16. Many of these celebrities are part of the Best Friends Acclaimed Ambassador program, which includes well-known individuals from entertainment, sports, politics and popular culture who participate in Best Friends events and use their voices to speak out for the animals.

The facility, which covers more than an acre, will house 36 Best Friends employees and an average of 150 dogs and cats, with a minimum of 100 dogs/cats on site on any given day. There is also a grooming room, a large dog play yard and two clinic areas.

“It is a year to the day since we submitted our proposal to the city’s chief accounting officer, Miguel Santana, to operate the never-opened Mission Hills Animal Care Center as an adoption outlet for city shelter animals, along with a low-cost and free spay/neuter center for an underserved community,” blogged the organization’s co-founder, Francis Battista. "All the animals offered for adoption at the new center are pulled from one of the other six L.A. Animal Services shelters. Our goal for year one is to find adoptive homes for a minimum of 3,000 city shelter animals and provide 6,000 spay/neuter procedures through the clinic.

“And, as if that is not exciting enough, all of this is just part of a larger citywide campaign that Best Friends has pulled together with the support and participation of a coalition of 40 (and counting) local rescue groups and spay/neuter providers, along with L.A. Animal Services. The campaign, No More Homeless Pets Los Angeles, is a comprehensive approach to ending the needless killing of shelter animals through ramped-up adoptions and highly targeted spay/neuter services for low-income residents of the city. Best Friends has committed to fund the campaign that includes subsidies for increased coalition adoption numbers and spay/neuter project grants for targeted zip codes.”

Some of the celebrities who support Best Friends Animal Society but were unable to attend sent statements of support:

  • Actress Charlize Theron —"I’m so thrilled that Best Friends has been given the opportunity to open this new shelter for animals in need. Animal rescue is an issue near and dear to my heart and I hope that Los Angeles will embrace this new shelter and the Best Friend’s organization, giving animals the gift of a safe and secure space as they search for a permanent home."
  • Country music singer/songwriter Willie Nelson and the Nelson family — “Thanks to Best Friends Animal Society for taking over the Northeast animal shelter and providing Los Angeles the opportunity to begin the transformation into a ‘no-kill’ city. This will set a much needed new standard of care for shelter animals everywhere. Hurray for Best Friends. Keep up the great work.”
  • Actress Linda Hunt (NCIS LA) — “Since work keeps me from being able to celebrate the opening of Best Friends Adoption Center here in Los Angeles in person, I want everyone to know how happy I am that we have them to take up our cause, yet again, for No More Homeless Pets, in the unique way Best Friends accomplishes so much. I have been a member for many years, have visited their Sanctuary many times and have seen firsthand how they lead by example. Instead of competing for resources, they share. How lucky we are.”

Watch a video of the Grand Opening here.

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