Days before animated feline Kitty Galore was scheduled to leave the Warner Bros. studios for the big screen, kitties galore prowled the company's Burbank lot.
Fifty homeless animals visited the grounds Wednesday as Warner Bros. Studio Facilities officially made the Burbank Animal Shelter its pet cause. Workers in the division, which provides production and post-production services, helped organize a pet adoption event with a dozen animals finding new homes.
That was just the beginning of the connection between the studio and the shelter. The studio has agreed to partner with the shelter for the next year, doing everything from upgrading the city-run facility on Victory Boulevard to paying studio staffers to volunteer at the shelter a few hours a month.
The partnership comes after the shelter was one of many city programs to come under budget pressure this year at City Hall.
"We have a corporate giving program across all our company, and the studio people wanted to adopt a local organization because we live and work here," said Jon Gilbert, president of Warner Bros. Studio Facilities. "The animals were a common interest of all our employees. Everyone seems to come together around animals."
Denise Fleck, a shelter volunteer who is training studio employees on how to work with pets, said the city and Warner Bros. are still hashing out details regarding donations, improvement tasks and training.
Gilbert said his employees have the tools and the knowhow for brick-and-mortar projects, such as creating shade for the shelter viewing area where people first encounter their potential adoptees. One task is right up the studio's alley: upgrading a small stage at the shelter where Fleck shoots her weekly adopt-a-pet broadcasts for KTLA.
"Our property department will be able to make that a lot better," Gilbert said.
Shelter Supt. Brenda Castaneda said volunteer contributions of time, money or kitten food are welcome, whether people work for Warner Bros. or not.
The shelter has about 130 cats and 50 dogs now, as summer is the peak season. Cats tend to have more litters during the hottest time of year, Castaneda said, and the youngest kittens need care at a home where they can get attention every couple of hours.
Dogs spooked by Fourth of July fireworks or who become separated from vacationing families are also adding to the shelter population, Fleck said.
But Fleck said Warner Bros. made it a good day for the Burbank strays.
"It's an amazing opportunity for the animals to have such a big, successful corporation in their pack, so to speak," she said.
FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version that misspelled Jon Gilbert.