Today show producer Don Nash has confirmed that NBC is putting Jill Rappaport’s popular “Bow to Wow” series to sleep. The announcement last week sent shock waves throughout the animal welfare community. The ASPCA, one of the largest and most revered animal welfare organizations in the world, responded by sending a letter to NBC on behalf of their millions of members urging NBC to reinstate the lifesaving segments. Other organizations, including Helen Woodward Animal Center near San Diego and Main Line Animal Rescue in Valley Forge, PA were quick to express their utter dismay at NBC’s decision and contacted the network as well. Rappaport has long been considered the strongest and most consistent voice on behalf of shelter animals on network television and has won numerous national awards for this series. After NBC canceled the series, the four dogs and one cat from New York City’s AC&C that were scheduled to appear on Bow to Wow in October were returned to the overcrowded animal control center and missed their chance to find homes on national television.
For almost six years, Bow to Wow has featured homeless dogs and cats from New York City’s overcrowded Animal Care & Control facility in East Harlem. Countless animals have found homes through the monthly segments due largely to Jill Rappaport’s efforts and her willingness to spotlight those animals who may not have had a chance otherwise. One hundred percent of the animals featured on Bow to Wow went on to find homes and the segments have inspired families across the country to adopt from their local shelters.
“I’m surprised after what happened with Ann Curry, the producers at the Today show would want to walk away from all the goodwill and positive press Jill Rappaport and her adoption segments bring NBC. Many of us are wondering if their sponsors are okay with what they are doing?” said Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue. “It’s important to their sponsors that they be perceived as family friendly. What could be more unfriendly than costing a homeless dog or cat the chance to have a family?” Smith continued “NBC dropped the segment during October – National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! The month when everyone should be promoting the idea of adopting an animal in need, not turning their backs on these animals.” Tens of thousands of stray and abandoned pets pour into New York City’s three animal control centers every year. AC&C relies heavily on Rappaport’s Bow to Wow to help their dogs and cats find homes.
Volunteers at many of the rescue organizations contacted hope NBC reconsiders and allows Jill Rappaport to continue her important lifesaving work with these segments. An online petition to be presented to NBC’s president is being discussed. Main Line Animal Rescue is also reaching out to other shelters and rescue organizations to discuss a possible boycott targeting the show’s sponsors until the segments are reinstated. MLAR is best known for their appearance on Oprah Winfrey’shighly regarded puppy mill show.