Katie Cleary's documentary "Give Me Shelter" to premier February 24th
Tomorrow on February 24, 2015, the award-winning documentary, "Give Me Shelter", will premier in West Hollywood. This documentary is destined to become one of the all-time great films to educate everyone on the horrors endured by animals around the globe, and the critical need for positive changes to be made for them. This documentary covers a huge spectrum of international animal issues including puppy mills, horse slaughter, the fur trade, the ivory trade, tiger conservation, the exotic animal trade, endangerment of orangutans due to the palm oil industry, as well as the issues concerning dolphins and whales for slaughter, and for use in human entertainment. It was written by model, actress, and passionate animal advocate, Katie Cleary, who was also the executive producer for the film, and was directed by Kristin Rizzo. The trailer for the documentary can be seen at the link in this article.

Katie Cleary is well known for her work in modeling as well as her work as an actress. Ms. Cleary founded Peace4Animals, a non-profit organization that works to help animals around the world, usually having a primary focus on one particular animal issue each year. She often partners Peace4Animals with other large animal organizations, in order to have as much reach as possible to help the animals in need. These have included animals of all kinds such as tigers, and also the orangutans who are being driven to extinction by the palm oil industry. It would take an entire page to list all of this amazing young woman's accomplishments in her short lifetime, with her passion being directed and saving animals.

Once achieving celebrity status, Ms. Cleary did not stop and rest on her laurels, but instead, she made the decision to make this documentary. I had the honor of having a telephone interview with her on February 19th, and in our conversation, I asked her when she decided to make this documentary, and why. She told me that in 2012 she woke up one morning and had an epiphany. She said animals have always been her angels, and a huge and important part of her entire life. She realized that with her celebrity status, she now had the contacts and ability to really make a difference for animals everywhere and to give back for them by using whatever talents she could gather together. The idea for "Give Me Shelter" was born.

She began to reach out to other big names that she knew, asking for their help. Actress Tippi Hedren, whom Ms. Cleary called the "matriarch of animal advocacy", came on board. She also contacted Ric O'Barry, founder of The Dolphin Project and who had produced the documentary, "The Cove". Mr. O'Barry works tirelessly to help stop the slaughter of dolphins and whales, specifically in Taiji and the Faroe Islands, and to stop the capture of these magnificent creatures for use in amusement parks for the entertainment of humans. Ms. Cleary said she knew how busy Mr. O'Barry was, and did not think he would be able to help due to time constraints. However, to her joyous surprise, he jumped on a plane and came immediately to help. Also involved were Robert Davi, Carole Davis, Andrea C. Kelley, Esai Morales, Kristen Renton, Michael Vartan, Alison Eastwood, Elaine Hendrix, Carly Lyn, Charlotte Ross, and Jill Wagner. Every person involved in the making of this documentary is deeply involved in animal advocacy, and all of them played a huge part in making it the success with critics that it already is, with the awards it has won so far, and the success it is destined to become, once the general public gets to see it when it debuts on the 24th of February.

After being inspired to do this, Ms. Cleary began the labor of love to get it done. Over the ensuing three years, there were 177 hours of footage shot for the film. This was finally edited down to 1-1/2 hours, to include as much detail as possible about all of the issues. Interviews were held with advocates who have dedicated their lives to helping animals, each speaking about their individual passions and the needs of the animals they work to help. It is shocking to realize how little the general public knows about the harsh realities animals face every day. These are creatures we were meant to share this earth with; not to exploit for our own enjoyment. Yet, every hour of every day, animals around the globe are suffering at the hands of greedy monsters.

I next had the additional honor of speaking with one of the stars from the documentary, Alison Eastwood. She is also known, not only for being the daughter of iconic film star, Clint Eastwood, but on her own for her modeling and acting career. Ms. Eastwood was the host of the Nat Geo Wild television series, "Animal Intervention". She also founded the Eastwood Ranch Foundation, which is devoted to helping with animals of all kinds, as well as spay and neutering programs, and adopting out as many homeless animals as possible. In the documentary, she is interviewed and speaks about a myriad of topics related to animal issues that involve her own personal passions.

Ms. Eastwood echoed the selfless and devoted sentiments of Ms. Cleary. She stated that with the achievement of celebrity status there also comes a huge responsibility. Within that responsibility, her belief is that those people with big hearts and conscious minds need to become a force for good; to raise awareness and educate others about the needs of these animals who depend on us so much, sometimes for their very lives. Her hope is that this documentary will help to create new possibilities for further changes for the better. If even just a few people's minds are changed and eyes are opened to the issues, then the ripple effect can be huge, and positive changes will definitely come from it.

This documentary will enlighten the public to so many of the horrors the precious animals are facing. Every day across the United States, over 10,000 unwanted and thrown-away dogs and cats are killed in shelters. Thousands upon thousands of fur-bearing animals are killed in horrific ways just for their skin, so some human can adorn themselves with the fur and somehow believe it makes them look beautiful. Horses of all ages and sizes, most of them completely healthy, are loaded into cramped transport trucks and driven hundreds of miles without food, drink, or rest to Mexico or Canada, where they are then slaughtered for their meat. Already-endangered orangutans are being driven to extinction because of the greed involved in the business of palm oil, which is not only taking their habitat, but also wiping out the rain forest upon which our very earth depends. Elephants are killed, many right inside of nature preserves, so their tusks can be taken and sold into the black market ivory trade. Dolphins and whales are driven into coves, where a handful are selected to be sold to amusement parks for human "entertainment", and the rest are brutally slaughtered for their meat. Entire family pods are wiped out, as they fight hopelessly to save themselves and their young. Wild exotic animals are stolen from their homes and sold into slavery; either to be kept as "pets", to be used in roadside petting zoos or displays, used in "canned hunting" farms, or into circuses, where they receive cruel treatment at the hands of humans to "train" them.

These issues mentioned above are just a few examples of those being faced by animals around the globe today, and which are covered in this comprehensive documentary. These animals are at the mercy of monsters disguised humans, and it is all done in the name of money and greed. There is no valid need for palm oil, animal fur, ivory tusks from endangered elephants, horns from the critically-endangered rhinoceros, pet store sales of dogs or cats from puppy/kitten mills, exotic animals to keep as pets or in circuses, or ocean mammals to "entertain" us in amusement parks. These animals should be allowed to live their lives as nature intended, and not have to endure the agonies of these terrible lives and even more terrible deaths.

Ms. Cleary's documentary, along with all of the big names who so willingly participated is a testament to the dedication of so many advocates around the world who are working for positive changes for the animals of this earth. In addition to that, Ms. Cleary wanted to show young women everywhere that they can use their talents to do whatever they desire. Her statement to me was, "You have to go after your dreams". Ms. Cleary dreamed of making a difference for animals, and her dream is coming to fruition with this documentary, along with her organization, Peace4Animals, and all the hard work she has done and continues to do every day for animals everywhere. She is an inspiration, both to young women as well as young men, to follow their dreams and never think for a moment that they cannot succeed; because they can.

This documentary is truly something every advocate should see. It will almost certainly become a benchmark for future generations to watch and to learn from. As Ms. Cleary and Ms. Eastwood both stated to me, we must continue to pass the torch of advocacy down to the next generations, so they can continue to move forward and bring about the positive changes so desperately needed by the animals of this world. I urge everyone who cares about animals to get this film, watch it, share it, and tell others about it.

The animals have a greater need than ever for advocates to do whatever they can to help them, and this documentary is the proof on film of just how dire the need is. Now it is up to every advocate to share this, and educate as many others as possible, so that ripple effect begins and the tidal wave of positive change is created.

Documentary shines light on animal causes
Filmmaker, model and actress Katie Cleary would trade all the glam in a minute if it would save the 2,000 Bengal tigers still roaming free. Or ban puppy mills. Or fund animal shelters. Or eliminate palm oil as a food ingredient, since Indonesian orangutan populations are destroyed to harvest it.

The animal rights activist is working for them all, from as many platforms as she can find. She recently won Best Documentary Short for her film “Give Me Shelter” at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood. The short film serves as a trailer for the feature film she is currently editing, a far-ranging work documenting the most pressing issues of human cruelty against animals around the world, and suggests ways to combat the aggression perpetrated on the voiceless.

“I’ve been rescuing animals since I was 10 years old,” Cleary said. “Once you start realizing the millions of ways animals are abused everywhere around us, you can be overwhelmed. But I think the answer is in raising awareness, one voice at a time.”

Cleary, a Calabasas resident who has appeared on TV shows such as “Chuck” and “America’s Next Top Model,” began to join forces with some of the more visible animal rights proponents, like veteran actresses Betty White and Tippi Hedren. She created petitions and successfully worked with local activists to pass ordinances banning puppy mill sales of animals in L.A., Hollywood and Glendale.

But there is so much more to be done, Cleary says. Citizens can take a first step by purchasing 100 percent recycled or certified sustainable paper products. Much of the world’s new paper supplies come from rainforest deforestation, which has brought many animal species to the brink of extinction. Refusing to support wildlife entertainment like circuses or dolphin “encounters” would make a difference, she said. Such animals are ripped from their families and environments, and made to “perform” for the rest of their lives.

Most importantly, she says, think of adopting an animal from a shelter. Up to nine million dogs and cats are euthanized every year because they cannot find homes. Cleary has plenty of support in her efforts to change the animal zeitgeist locally. She was joined in film production for “Give Me Shelter” by Topanga resident Alison Eastwood, daughter of the accomplished filmmaker Clint Eastwood, and an actress/director in her own right. She recently completed a run on National Geographic’s channel of her series “Animal Intervention” to raise awareness of the plight of animals worldwide.

“I came on board after Katie started working on ‘Give Me Shelter’ and we really clicked,” Eastwood said. “We decided to combine our love for animals and our activism into education, and film or TV is the most immediate way to reach people.”

Eastwood’s foundation, Eastwood Ranch Foundation, supports a number of animal welfare organizations, from Chimp Haven to Habitat for Horses.

Eastwood and Cleary are collaborating on ideas for educational Internet content as well. “Putting difficult content, like what happens in puppy mills, is hard for network TV, so there’s more opportunity with an internet approach,” Eastwood said.

“There’s worldwide traction online. I want to think globally, but we need to clean up our own laws on animal welfare. If we do that, we can set examples for countries like China and Korea.”

Meanwhile, Cleary hopes to reach large audiences with her documentary. She also thinks that flogging the petition approach will make a difference.

“If you send a petition with 200 signatures to Trader Joe’s or Ralph’s, demanding they discontinue products with palm oil, they’ll listen,” Cleary said. “That’s your local community speaking out. I don’t want my children to grow up in a world where the last tiger died out on my watch. One person with one voice can make a change.”

Katie Cleary & Peace 4 Animals Present “Give Me Shelter”
Dr. Jordan Schaul reviews the ground-breaking, award-winning documentary Give Me Shelter produced by model/actress Katie Cleary of Peace 4 Animals and Director Kristin Rizzo. The film explores the lives of animals in a society that continues, despite progress, to abuse and neglect them.

I admit that I’ve worked in pet stores, zoos and sanctuaries, in university laboratories and on horse ranches and cattle stations among other live animal facilities. I thought I knew most every perspective and every truth and falsehood about these industries. But this film caught me off-guard. And it should catch you off-guard.

Give Me Shelter uncovers a side of the human-pet industry interface that is unscrupulous and largely unknown to the human consumer and companion pet owner. It reveals the inhumane treatment of domestic and wild animals as they are commercialized and exploited for food, clothing, medicinals and other uses.

The documentary speaks to a selfish species and a selfish instinct. It speaks to us as humans.

Give Me Shelter conveys just how we continue to dominate rather than just coexist. It is poignant and powerful reminder of what we have done and continue to do to the voiceless. The film is engaging and unprecedented. And it is as enlightening as it is disturbing.

Give Me Shelter captures a sad reality through interviews with noted celebrity animal activists and professional advocates. It conveys something about our own sentience or lack thereof and our disregard for many members of the animal kingdom. Despite how progressive we may perceive our society to be, this documentary clearly establishes how far we need to go.

The film takes us on a journey of young dogs and cats from commercial puppy mills and catteries to retail pet stores around the nation. It reveals the horrific nature of the horse slaughter industry and the brutal last days of companion equids.

The film also exposes the brutality on fur farms and factory food animal farms. It explores the lives of performing animals. Give Me Shelter exposes the dangerous and irresponsible trade in exotic animals here in the US. It broaches the subject of conservation and the plight of threatened and endangered species around the world. It is a must see.

The all-star cast includes Tippi Hedren, Alison Eastwood, Michael Vartan, Esai Morales, Charlotte Ross, Elaine Hendrix, Jill Wagner, Robert Davi, Kristen Renton and Oscar winner Ric O’Barry and many more animal advocates and celebrities lending their voice to save animals around the world. It is endorsed by celebrity animal activists the Barbi Twins and Joanna Krupa.

Model Katie Cleary Founds PEACE 4 Animals to Save Endangered Species
Having grown up as a child (or more like young adult) of popular culture, I certainly spent my time viewing some of the first reality shows in the late 90s and early 2000s. One of the first shows that I actually admit to watching was America's Next Top Model (ANTM), which had just the right elements of high drama, character development, and fashionable stylings. Having missed the first few episodes of ANTM during season one, I gradually became familiar with finalist and Chicago-native Katie Cleary.

Since her ANTM finalist days, Katie’s been a busy lady! She was named one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People”, worked has as an actress in television and film, and founded the philanthropic foundation PEACE 4 Animals. She can now expand further on her impressive resume, as Cleary was executive producer of Give Me Shelter; winner of Best Documentary Short at the 2013 Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood.

Cleary is also designing a jewelry line to benefit endangered tigers and has challenged Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods grocery stores to cease selling the palm oil (as production of palm oil endangers orangutan habitats)

Exclusive Interview

As a fellow animal welfare advocate, I was psyched to be given the opportunity to interview Cleary.

Patrick Mahaney, VMD: What was your inspiration to found PEACE 4 Animals?

Katie Cleary: Something has to be done to save endangered species before they become extinct. I have always wanted to create a voice for the voiceless. My hero is Jane Goodall and I support her organization and wanted to create my own organization so that I could contribute and raise awareness for animal welfare around the world. I think if everyone woke up each day and answered the question, “What can I do today to make the world a better place?” – the world would indeed change positively for the better.

Mahaney: Approximately how many and what kinds of animals has PEACE 4 ANIMALS helped?

Cleary: I partnered with the Born Free Foundation to help Tigers in India and the California Wildlife Center to help rescue birds, ducks, squirrels, sea lions, mountain lions, etc. I also produced my own charity events such as “Diamonds not Fur” and “Stars 4 Stripes” two years in a row to help pass the "Fur Free” bill in West Hollywood and to raise money for tiger preservation in the Satpuda region of India. We have a campaign called Palms Off Palm Oil to save orangutans and their rainforest homes from extinction in Indonesia. My organization supports all animals large and small, but we try to focus on one particular animal campaign per year. This past year has been tigers.

Mahaney: Are PEACE 4 ANIMALS efforts particular to the Los Angeles area or are there other parts of California or the country that benefit?

Cleary: Peace 4 Animals helps organizations all over the world. From local sanctuaries and organizations like the California Wildlife Center, Shambala Preserve and the Wildlife Waystation all the way to the Satpuda Tiger Conservation Program in India, to the de-forested palm oil plantations displacing orangutans in Indonesia. With the internet and social media and the power of Hollywood, there really is no place too far to help.

Mahaney: How does PEACE 4 ANIMALS work to stop the ”underground trade of wild animals, puppy mills, poaching, and animal abuse and neglect?”

Cleary: I have personally held many charitable events to create awareness and raise money. I have also been involved in visiting grade schools all around California to take them on field trips to shelters and sanctuaries and to bring awareness to the ethical treatment of all animals. I’m even working to pass a bill in Congress called "The No Child Left Inside Act" to make animal and environment issues a regular part of the classroom curriculum in the United States.

Mahaney: If we missed the screening of GIVE ME SHELTER, can it be viewed elsewhere?

Cleary: Virgil Entertainment is distributing the film and will be in digital release later this year. Copies of the movie will also be available for purchase on the website in the near future. We will also have additional box office screenings at some point this year. More to come for sure!

Mahaney: When and where will your jewelry line be available for purchase? Is there a particular tiger rescue that will benefit from the sales and promotion?

Cleary: I partnered with a good friend Shelly Litvak who is an amazing jewelry designer. Our first project is a tiger pendant in either silver, copper or crystal. 20% of proceeds go toward the Satpuda Tiger Conservation Project in India. They are available for purchase on my website There are less than 3,500 wild tigers left in the world and if we don’t do something to stop poaching, they will be extinct in just a few short years.

Mahaney: I’m aware of the issues surrounding rainforest clearing to collect palm oil, as I’ve worked some with Birute Galdikas of the Orangutan Foundation International. What has been the response so far from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Ralphs regarding the cessation of palm oil sales? Does this include not selling products that contain palm oil in addition to the sales of actual palm oil?

Cleary: There is a petition currently pending regarding these stores. I reached out to representatives from them all directly but have not had any interest from anyone to have a conversation on the issue or to defend their practices. All we can really do is decrease the demand for products with palm oil by refusing to purchase products containing palm oil. If there’s no demand, there will be no supply!

Mahaney: What are the stories behind your of 4 dogs and 2 cats? How are their overall health statuses?

Cleary: Each dog and cat I have rescued has their own unique story. There’s Lucky, a Chi mix, that was lying in the middle of the road with his femur broken who I rescued, he is definitely my most sweet and cuddly dog. My heart belongs to Charlie, an Australian Shepard mix I adopted from the Pasadena shelter. He was very shy timid in his cage, but now is my little angel. Butch is a German Shepard mix and is our little old grandpa. He likes to make sure all the rest of the dogs behave. I have 3 cats that were all rescued, flea-ridden, malnourished and now love to wrestle with the dogs. I even have 3 doves that I rescued from the street, and now they are hatching baby doves. All my animals are well adjusted and healthy now. The most recent addition is Wolfie, a Siberian Husky, we think part wolf. He is the youngest and most wild. I put him through 3 months of training with an expert and he has calmed down a bit, but Husky's always have so much energy and need to have enough space to run and be out in the open. All our animals sleep together and get along great!

Katie Cleary, President and Founder of Peace 4 Animals: Get Proactive!
Interview: Barbi Twins

Barbi Twins: As a model, you made the camera your livelihood. How has the camera helped you, as an animal activist and film producer of Give Me Shelter, with your animal rights cause?

Katie Cleary: I believe that the camera has aided animal welfare by giving a platform and a vision [for bringing] awareness to the most important animal-welfare issues worldwide. We are able to help animals all around the world as a result of the media and entertainment business, which is able to spread compassion and change at rapid speed.

BT: Your organization, Peace 4 Animals, focuses on everything from wildlife to shelter animals. What is the biggest misconception about animal rights, and what do you think we can do to help motivate others to be proactive?

KC: The biggest misconception is that sometimes activists have to be loud and are radical to get their message across. I think there is a classy way to go about changing people's views about how they treat animals, and that is with compassion, strategic moves, and passing laws to protect animals, not throwing paint and flour on people. That only turns them away from your whole purpose of helping those without a voice.

Animals should have rights and should be treated with compassion and empathy; we are their caretakers. If you don't have it in your heart to help them, then just leave them alone and do no harm. To be proactive is to educate yourself and get the word out via social media, or through one of the many animal-welfare organizations around the world, and by signing petitions, starting your own campaigns, rescuing and fostering animals, organizing cleanups, recycling, volunteering at your local animal shelter, going to eco-tourist destinations or photo safaris. This will help get the word out to the masses, and hopefully, this will bring more awareness and more compassion to animal welfare.

BT: Who were your heroes growing up, and who do you admire in Hollywood that truly makes a difference?

KC: Jane Goodall is my idol and someone I have always looked up to for the amazing work she has done with chimpanzees. She has transcended animal welfare as the voice for the voiceless and has changed many people's views about how they think and treat not only chimps but all of the amazing animals we share this planet with.

BT: For young girls that want to become successful models like you, what message can you give them?

KC: To never give up your dreams and stay focused on your passions. Wake up every morning thankful for everything that God gave you, and make your passion your purpose in life.

BT: If you had the resources to make a difference in one area, what would it be?

KC: I would make a difference by banning unsustainable palm oil in order to save the rainforest and orangutan habitats along with the rest of the three hundred thousand other species that live in the rainforest. Deforestation for palm-oil production also contributes significantly to climate change. The removal of the native forests often involves the burning of timber and remaining forest undergrowth, emitting immense quantities of smoke into the atmosphere. The rainforest is being cut down at alarming rates, and orangutans are losing their habitats and are being killed, as a result, faster than we can save them, but there is a solution. In Borneo, small parcels of rainforest land can be a lifeline for orangutans so long as they link together protected forests, enabling animals to move safely over greater distances.

World Land Trust's Borneo Rainforest Appeal helps to save the rainforest through land protection and ensures the survival of the Bornean orangutan from extinction in the wild in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. With the funds raised to purchase rainforest land, WLT will be able to help create the Keruak Corridor, which will link Keruak Forest Reserve with one part of Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

Interview -
Katie Cleary, named one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” and a finalist in the premiere season of “America’s Next Top Model,” model, host, actress and animal rights activist, is the founder of PEACE 4 ANIMALS, a non-profit Animal Welfare Organization that protects all animals against harmful human interference around the globe through public awareness and education as well as rescuing, rehabilitating and finding homes for domestic animals.

To achieve the goals of PEACE4ANIMALS, Cleary’s current projects include:

GIVE ME SHELTER: Cleary is the executive producer of the Best Documentary Short at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood GIVE ME SHELTER a documentary chronicling various aspects of human-domestic animal/welfare conflict and to raise awareness for important animal abuse around the world.

GIVE ME SHELTER features appearances by Alison Eastwood, Michael Vartan (“Alias”), Esai Morales (LA BAMBA), Charlotte Ross (“NYPD Blue”), Elaine Hendrix (THE PARENT TRAP), Ric O’Barry (THE COVE), Kristen Renton (“Sons of Anarchy”), and Robert Davi (THE GOONIES) and features topics such as underground trade of wild animals, puppy mills, poaching, and animal abuse and neglect.

The trailer can be found at and the full length film will be released at the end of this summer!

Jewelry Line: Cleary is designing a jewelry line with esteemed jewelry designer, Shelly Litvak, to create a globally conscious line of crystal, wood and copper jewelry to benefit the endangered tigers.

Orangutans: PEACE4ANIMALS has challenged Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Ralphs to stop the sale of palm oil. 80% of orangutan habitats have been destroyed since rainforests are being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations.

Animal Rescue: Rescuing animals since she could talk, Cleary has been an animal lover and activist her entire life. In addition to running PEACE4ANIMALS, Cleary actively volunteers at the CA Wildlife Center and the Agoura Animal Shelter. Cleary has rescued 4 dogs and 2 cats!

She's also known for modeling on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” Cleary has appeared on “Chuck,” “Tosh.O,” “Rules of Engagement” and “CSI: NY:” as well as the films THE BREAK UP, THE LAKE HOUSE and IRON MAN 2! Cleary has also been the face of national campaigns such as Chandon Champagne, Sketchers, AT&T LG phone and Emerald Nuts.

Follow Katie at and