The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation has received a $75,000 grant from television personality, bestselling author and animal rights advocate Rachael Ray to support the JDHF's ongoing efforts to stem the pet overpopulation crisis. Ray made the presentation to Katherine Heigl live on the "Rachael Ray" syndicated show February 15th. The 2013 grant will support two of the Foundation's primary endeavors: free pet sterilization and the pet transport programs.

Katherine Heigl & Rachael Ray Katherine Heigl & Rachael Ray

In 2008, Ray partnered with pet nutrition experts from Ainsworth Pet Nutrition® to develop a line of super premium food and treats for dogs called Rachael Ray Nutrish®. All of Ray's proceeds from each sale of Rachael Ray Nutrish® food and treats for dogs are donated to organizations like The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, that help animals in need through Rachael's Rescue™.

Ray first contributed to the JDHF in 2012. With the support of her first two grants, dubbed "The Heigl Ray of Hope," the Foundation sterilized 1666 animals across four zip codes in Los Angeles, in just seven months. Those sterilizations have resulted in a -17% decrease in intake, or 608 saved animals, compared to the same seven months in the previous year.

The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation sterilization program is unique in that it offers free sterilization with zero income restrictions and no applications needed. Residents of specific zip codes in Los Angeles - who traditionally contribute disproportionately to the intake of animals in the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control center - will benefit. "We recognize that by targeting sterilization by geographic area, we can tremendously reduce the numbers of animals killed in our shelters and this $75,000 will go a long way to help us end pet homelessness," said Katherine Heigl.

The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation transport programs helped relocate over 750 dogs in 2012 from high kill shelters in and around Los Angeles to no kill facilities across North America. "We are thrilled that we can solve two problems in one - the need for adoptable small dogs in some areas, with the overwhelming supply here in L.A.," said Nancy Heigl.

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition will also be making food donations to support the Foundation's spay and neuter programs.

About Rachael's Rescue™ and Nutrish

In 2008, Rachael Ray partnered with pet nutrition experts from Ainsworth Pet Nutrition® to develop a l ine of super premium food and treats for dogs called Rachael Ray Nutrish®. Rachael Ray Nutrish® is made with simple, natural ingredients and includes three full-feeding varieties featuring real meat as the first ingredient – Real Chicken and Veggies, Real Beef and Brown Rice, and Healthy Weight with Real Turkey & Veggies. The line also includes a limited ingredient recipe called Rachael Ray Nutrish® Just 6®, formulated with only six simple ingredients, as well as treats and wet meals for dogs. All of Ray’s proceeds from each sale of Rachael Ray Nutrish® food and treats for dogs are donated to organizations that help animals in need through Rachael's Rescue™. So, not only are Nutrish products great for your dog, they’re great for countless other dogs as well.

"I created Rachael's Rescue to help care for forgotten pets – the ones that might not have someone to love them," said Ray. To date more than $3 million in proceeds from the sale of Nutrish® and Just 6® product lines have gone to help countless numbers of shelters, animal organizations and pets in need. "I am so happy to be able to partner with Katherine and her foundation to launch this very important program."