Shelter dogs vie for “Best in Shelter”

Actress and singer Bernadette Peters will judge the contestants at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City on February 21. (Photo Credit: Everett Collection /

Following the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show, shelter dogs will get their chance to show off on prime time TV. A number of the shelter dogs currently reside at the The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The television special, Best in Shelter with Jill Rappaport, will air locally on NBC 4 New York on Saturday, February 21, at 7 p.m. E.T. and on NBC Owned Television Stations and NECN.

Best in Shelterwill spotlight the appeal of shelter dogs. Television personality and animal welfare activist Jill Rappaport will be joined by actress and comedian Betty White, Olympic superstar skier Lindsey Vonn, singer Emmylou Harris, and other celebrities. The 30-minute show will highlight three adoption centers in the U.S.

This “Best in Show” has categories for senior dogs, mixed breeds, three-legged dogs, and other dogs like the American Pit Bull Terrier, which is often overlooked at many animal shelters. These dogs will be judged by HBO’s Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel and his wife and author Hilary Gumbel. They will judge dogs at Main Line Animal Rescue in Pennsylvania; teen actor Lou Wegner will judge the dogs at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in California; and singer/actress Bernadette Peters takes the judging honors at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City. One dog from each shelter will be named “Best in Shelter.”

“Shelter pets should be celebrated and protected, regardless of the circumstances that put them in peril,” says ASPCA President & CEO Matthew Bershadker. “The ASPCA segment features three Pit Bull-type dogs who were brought to the ASPCA by the NYPD and were rehabilitated and cared for by our staff so that they could be adopted into loving homes.”

Bershadker adds, “Jill shares our passion for helping animal victims of cruelty and homelessness find homes, and I have no doubt this program will help save the lives of the many loving and loyal dogs — just like the ones featured — at nearby shelters.”

“This show is about saving lives and finding them all forever loving homes,” says Jill Rappaport. “It has been my dream for years to do a show that shines a light on the plight of shelter animals, and the wonderful heart and souls they possess!”

Source: ASPCA