The fourth annual “Benefit to Save Them All” highlighted the Best Friends Animal Society’s goal of making America reach “no-kill” nationwide by 2025.
If there’s one thing that can bring people together during peak partisanship, it seems to be cats and dogs.
“I feel like there’s a lot of heaviness going on,” Lauren Ash told The Hollywood Reporter at the Best Friends Animal Society’s “Benefit to Save Them All” on Wednesday. “Certainly there’s a lot of dissension, but I think that animals are something we can all agree need help.”
Ash, along with Amanda Seyfried, Emmy Rossum and Justin Theroux — who received the second-ever “Save Them All” Spotlight Award — joined members of the organization in New York City to celebrate the progress being made in the “no-kill” movement.
“Every year, about a million animals die in this country just because they don’t have space. There’s nowhere for them to go. So for us, it’s all about finding those million animals a home,” said Best Friends CEO Julie Castle. “And our entire goal right now is to end the killing of animals in shelters by 2025. We’ve got a lot of support behind it, but the public really is the answer.”
According to Castle, before Best Friends was created, the number of animals dying due to a lack of space was actually 17 million. Today, a mere five states make up 50 percent of the animals being killed: California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. However, one of the first cities that could potentially be declared “no-kill” is actually in California.
“When we started, 56,000 animals were entering L.A. shelters, and they had about a 50 percent save rate,” Castle said. “Today, that save rate is right around 90 percent.”
Rossum, who instead of creating a traditional registry for her wedding asked for donations to Best Friends, said that she’s “so impressed” that an organization can have such a large impact “in a very real way that’s extremely tangible.”
“Living in Los Angeles so much, I’ve been so impressed with the incredible work they’ve done to move L.A. so much closer to becoming the country’s first real no-kill city,” said the actress.
Throughout the evening, the stars on the red carpet were joined by dogs and cats available for adoption. Theroux, however, brought his own dog.
“I don’t think of it as me being honored, I think of it as her being honored,” he said.
Castle praised the actor, saying he’s “such an iconic person and figure, and the fact that he’s so passionate about animals really helps us spread our message.”
Seyfried, who won the award last year, presented the honor to Theroux. Her priority remains educating people about the importance of animal adoption. “It’s, like, almost impossible not to know about what rescue actually means and how big of a difference it makes for animals,” said the actress.