Guilford County Animal Services got some good news recently thanks to the generosity of a famous Food Network television cook and celebrity.

The department was awarded $35,000 in the form of a “Rachael Ray Save Them All Grant.”

The grant has been given to the county to help fund the Animal Shelter’s Gate City Pet Project – an outreach effort that promotes spaying and neutering in segments of the community where that isn’t common practice.

Save Them All grants are from the Rachel Ray Foundation and are handed out to fund a variety of initiatives meant to reduce the number of cats and dogs killed in shelters. The foundation, which was established in 2016, is funded in part by the sale of a line of Ray’s food products.

For the Save Them All grants, approved projects must demonstrate a direct impact on saving animals’ lives. The grants are meant to improve the quality of life for animals as well as reduce the number euthanized. The $35,000 just awarded to Animal Services will ideally help make the county “a united, engaged, and informed community where animal welfare is valued and demonstrated through collaborative efforts leading to positive outcomes for people and pets.”

The Gate City Pet Project team also provides vaccinations and other services along with spaying and neutering services and education.

One of the big problems with controlling the animal population in Guilford County has been that it’s extremely difficult to get certain demographic groups to have their pets spayed and neutered.   This program will use targeted outreach to build relationships with, and educate, those pet owners who in many cases aren’t inclined to have their animals fixed.

In addition to helping address the animal overpopulation problem, the program will also work to change attitudes about spaying and neutering.