updated 04/06/2011 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/07/2011 AT 7:45 AM ET
When Matt Heinemeyer’s sister Karen died suddenly of an enlarged heart in 2008, he wanted to do something meaningful to honor her memory. She was an animal lover who cared for 12 rescues in her tiny Huntington, Calif., home, so he knew animals would have to be involved in some way.
In January, Heinemeyer and his friend Danian Rios launched Arm the Animals, a unique T-shirt line dedicated to helping generate funds for animal charities in need. The tees are already gaining popularity among celebs – Ashley Greene and Shannon Elizabeth have both been spotted wearing them.
The ring spun cotton shirts are emblazoned with Heinemeyer’s illustrations of pets packing guns, throwing grenades, and flashing swords – and make a tough statement about animal rescue. “Animals are pissed and fighting back,” says Heinemeyer. “I thought the images would get people’s attention.”
A portion of the proceeds from the shirts, which sell for $21 each, go to Barks of Love and Strangest Angels Non-Profit Animal Rescue in California. The shirts have generated over $2,000 in donations in just three months and Heinemeyer knows his sister would be proud.
“She was a hardcore pet advocate, crawling into trash cans, saving kittens,” he says. “I think she’d love it.”
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