ITV1 has received complaints after comedian Leigh Francis, aka Keith Lemon, gave away a puppy as a prize.
Battersea Dogs & Cats home are just one of the organisations condemning Keith Lemon’s LemonAid and labelled giving a puppy away as a prize highly irresponsible.
In a press release, Battersea Dogs & Cat home said “We fear many children and their parents will be influenced by what they saw on the show and will have little understanding of the full responsibilities of pet ownership.”
Ofcom reported it received 176 complaints after the animal was awarded to a child, and is assessing them to determine whether or not the show had broken any broadcasting codes.
Animal welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, says ITV contacted them before the show for advice but said they were “extremely disappointed to see ITV giving away a puppy as a prize,” and also stated that “puppies are not commodities, but a lifelong commitment.”
Responding to complaints directed at him on a social networking site, Francis responded by saying: “The breeders interviewed the parents and they seemed responsible, nice people who actually really wanted a dog.”
A spokesperson for the programme’s makers Talkback confirmed that each of the animal’s prospective new owners had been visited, saying: “An independent, qualified vet visited each home in advance of the show to conduct a thorough check before the re-homing process, to ensure that each family understood the commitment and responsibility involved.”