Hooray for Hollywood: Fix Georgia Pets’ Annual Gala and Auction is welcoming a legend in the film industry as its special guest.

Rex Reed, an actor, author of eight books and film critic for the Observer news website, will appear at the event and perform at its VIP reception. Set for Oct. 24 at the home of Ginny and Guy Millner in Buckhead, the eighth annual gala will raise funds for Fix Georgia Pets, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that works with recognized low-cost spay/neuter organizations to combat the significant pet overpopulation in the state.

Reed will be joined by Mike Renzi, a renowned piano player who used to perform for Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé and Peggy Lee.

“Rex … was actually on Broadway,” said Tom Abrams, who is co-chairing the event with Lisa Rayner Catherall. “He has a lot of old stories. He’s going to do a VIP presentation with Mike. Rex is going to tell some stories and Mike will play some songs.”

Ginny Millner, who co-founded the organization, “I think it’s going to be so divine because he knew Marilyn Monroe. He knew all these famous actresses, and he’s so knowledgeable about all the old-time actresses. … And his piano player is wonderful. I’m just honored that they would want to give (their time) for this reason.”

But the event also takes on a serious role. It intends to make a big impact on the state’s pet overpopulation problem.

“In the past three years, Fix Georgia Pets has awarded over $500,000 to 26 partner organizations and provided two transport vans, allowing clinics to serve more animals in their region and to dramatically decrease the number of animals in Georgia’s shelters,” Abrams said.

Said Millner, “(The gala) stands out because now with this money, (we’re) going to be able to help a lot of places that don’t even have animal services, such as Hazlehurst. I’m hoping to get at least one van to go in and sit there so we don’t have so many animals being killed (in shelters).

“It’s just tragic. It’s a never-ending problem with the abused animals. … It’s really sad people don’t realize how terrible it is.”

Millner mentioned federal House Resolution 724, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which Congress’ website states “retains existing criminal offenses that prohibit knowingly creating or distributing an animal crush video using interstate commerce.” The bill was introduced into the House in January but has not been approved by either branch yet.

Millner said the Georgia Pet Foundation’s license tag, which costs $25 and sends $19 of it to local spay/neuter initiatives, will also help solve the problem. Fix Georgia Pets raises money for the foundation.

“We have 159 counties (in the state), and we’ve gotten 123 to know they need spay-and-neuter education,” she said of Fix Georgia Pets’ efforts.

In a video posted to the foundation’s website from the news conference announcing the new license tags, dog trainer and TV personality Victoria Stillwell said about 350,000 dogs and cats are put down in shelters in Georgia annually, and the state has one of the highest euthanasia rates in the nation.

As Fix Georgia Pets’ largest annual fundraiser, the event collected $220,000 in 2018. Millner said the goal for this year’s gala is to raise $500,000.

The VIP reception starts at 5:30 p.m., the main event is at 7 p.m. and the wrap party begins at 9:30 p.m.

The Millner residence is located at 3640 Tuxedo Road NW in Atlanta. Tickets are $350 per person for the main event and $5,000 for Diva Dog sponsorships, which include six tickets to the main event and the VIP reception. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.fixgeorgiapets.org.

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