Chase Utley pitches for PETA and homeless pets

Phillies all-star Chase Utley and his pit bull Jack headline a new video on behalf of the animal rights group PETA to urge prospective pet owners to turn to their local shelter (or perhaps Petfinder) for their next companion.

In the "Adopt Don't Buy" video, Utley tells viewers the staggering statistics of shelter life: of the  7 to 8 million dogs and cats taken to animal shelters in the U.S., half of them must be euthanized because there are not enough good homes.

Utley and his wife, Jen, have been longtime supporters of the Pennsylvania SPCA (where they found Jack) and founded their own charity event, Utley All Star Animals to help raise awareness about the plight of thousands of animals in U.S. shelters.

Chase unveiled the ad today at the Seger Dog Park in Philadelphia to a cheering crowd.

The release of the PETA adoption video comes on the heels of an annual flap over the animal rights' group high euthanasia rates at its Virginia shelter.

PETA says its Norfolk facility is the "shelter of last resort" for homeless animals and that its euthanasia numbers are a "howl for help" for legislatures to pass mandatory spay/neuter laws. Why? Because pet overpopulation leads to animal suffering and the toll on taxpayers is $2 billion a year. 

Of the animals taken in at PETA's shelter last year, 838 were found "forever homes," 65 were transferred to other agencies for adoption, and 3,630—most of whom were injured or ill—had to be euthanized, according to the group's press release.