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POP CULTURE PETS: Favorite Celebrity Animal Activists

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Have you checked out Katherine Heigl's latest PSA for animal neutering? The cheeky campaign, launched with the help of Funny or Die, is called "I Hate Balls." In the video, the actress claims that she only lobbies for the cause because she hates testicles, but we know her motives are pure. Heigl and her mother founded The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation in memory of the actress's brother, which aims to eliminate the needless suffering inflicted on animals by human cruelty, indifference and ignorance.
 
Heigl isn't the only star who uses her celebrity to help animals. Check out some of our other favorite celebrity animal activists:
 
 
Betty White: If you simply labeled Betty White an actress, she'd be quick to correct you because acting isn't the only place her passion lies. The comedy maven once described herself saying, "I'm the luckiest old broad on two feet because my life is divided absolutely in half - half animals and half show business. You can't ask for better than two things you love the most."
 
White is a longtime enthusiast and animal health advocate, who currently serves as the president emerita of the Morris Animal Foundation and has been a member of the board of directors of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association since 1974.
 
  • And if you want to get on Betty's good side -- you'd better love animals too. “I do have more in common with animal people,” she once said. “I find myself disappointed with those who are not interested in animals, they lack a certain warmth and tend to me a little self centered. Animal people have a certain empathy -- this isn’t just me talking now. Research has shown this to be true.”
 
Denise Richards: Impressively rising above tabloid gossip isn't Denise Richards' greatest feat. The drama that this mother-of-three focuses on is the plight of rescue animals, whose safety she tirelessly champions for. 
 
  • Silva Battista, the co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, just one group Denise works with, said of the actress, “Denise is phenomenally faithful. She frequently comes down to the shelters to help us with whatever we need. She also sponsors animals, she comes out for our events and she really understands the issues. She’s been amazing.”
 
Sarah McLachlan: What do you think of when you hear Sarah's song, "Angel"? Even if you're not in front of a TV, do you start welling up as images of abandoned shelter animals float through your head? Okay, then we're not alone. The ASPCA's two-minute ad featuring Sarah's song and those heartbreaking images  has raised over $30 million for the organization since it began airing in 2006.


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Kristin Chenoweth: The singer/actress is so enamoured with her Maltese, Maddie, that she founded an entire charity in her honor. Maddie's Corner supports numerous animal shelters and rescue groups, including KarmaRescue.org. 
 
One creative example of Kristin's work? She posed with some of Karma Rescue's puppies on the cover of Prevention magazine, all of which were quickly placed in loving homes.
 
  • Curious how Chenoweth's love affair with dogs began? "Show business can make you so self-focused, even if you're not that kind of person," she explained. "Since I wasn't married and didn't have a child, I needed something to take care of. So I got a dog." 


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Julianne Hough: As the Footloose star puts it, she's "obsessed" with her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexi and Harley. So obsessed, in fact, she once told People magazine, "Literally, people who follow me on Twitter are like, 'Can you please stop Tweeting about your dogs? Because we get it. They're cute.'" 
 
  • But Hough isn't just crazy for her own pups: she was among the stars to support the first ever American Hero Dog Awards. Organized by the American Humane Association, the awards were created to advance society's understanding of the human-animal bond and recognize “ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things.”
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