LemonAid turns very sour...

Did you watch Keith Lemon's LemonAid last night on ITV?
If so, I doubt you've calmed down yet. I haven't.
Keith had three cute kids under 10 who really, really wanted a puppy. Because, "They're so cute..." and, "In the night time you don't have to have a teddy, you can just cuddle a dog."
And why hadn't the parents already bought these kids dogs. 
"I just haven't been in a position to buy one." said Dave - dad of the eventual winner Kasey.
Keith, "What flavour dog would you like?" Honey answered, "A British Bulldog"
"What pet would you have if you couldn't have a dog?" Honey replied, "A monkey."

Oh please....the RSPCA duty officer would have probably needed to take sedation by now.

'A Right Dog's Dinner' was the name of the game that followed.

Here's how they advertised for these people...
"Are your kids constantly nagging you for a puppy? Would you like to give them the biggest surprise of their lives?"
Let Keith help you make their dreams come true!
The three kids and their parents had to dress up in dog suits and do an agility course with bones in their mouth added to by Peter Andre dressed as a large bone. 

Are you sure you want a puppy asked Keith. "Screams".

The one with the most bones wins the pup.

To the background music of Donny Osmond's Puppy Love a Pug pup was brought out by Peter Andre still in his bone suit. The Pug was delivered into the excited arms of Kasey.

Not a soft toy, a real one.

Kasey decided to call the pup Keith, which was just as well as they had the sparkly collar with that name all ready to wear.
I had imagined that it was illegal to give a puppy away as a prize, but after some digging and some quick tweeting with the RSPCA it seemed that it's only illegal to give a live pet away to a child without the parent's consent - apart from in Scotland where things are thankfully much stricter.

But the show was also simultaneously shown in Scotland, so we had a prime time entertainment programme depicting an illegal act without any editorial comment. 

Perhaps the researchers hadn't realised?

Not long after this, our electricity went off for the evening, just as a facebook protest page was setting up.

This morning I woke up to find the page was already on close to 1,000 likes.

Do join in..."Keith Lemon's LemonAid gave away a puppy as a prize!"

My feeling is that ITV has increasingly pushed the boundaries of unacceptable programming in pursuit of ratings and keeps making more and more extreme and irresponsible TV shows featuring pets.

Just before Christmas we had the dreadful Super Tiny Animals (click for my blog on that dreadful episode) show that further fuelled the lust for miniature pets, tiny monkeys and teacup dogs just as people were writing their Christmas lists - now we have a prime time TV entertainment show that gives a Pug puppy away as a game show prize to children.

Please complain to Ofcom
(Keith Lemon's LemonAid broadcast ITV Saturday 28th April at 18.15 on ITV - you'll need this for your Ofcom complaint.)
If you are resident in Scotland - please cite the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2006/11/section/31 - specifically 'A person commits an offence if the person offers or gives an animal to another person as a prize.'  and cc the RSPCA, the SSPCA in Scotland and Dogs Trust. And perhaps even your MP.

If you would like our laws to be as strong as Scotland please sign this petition:
From experience from complaining about ITV's Super Tiny Animals they didn't even bother to reply to the charities that complained, so it would seem they simply don't care what anyone thinks!

The purchase price of a Pug is a tiny amount compared to ongoing costs of ownership. If the parents of the winning child couldn't stretch to pay for the pup, how will they ever afford a soft palate resection or essential eye surgery - or even the insurance premiums? Olive the Pug has had £5k of operations so far to keep her alive.

A dog should be for life and not just a tacky game show prize for a quick laugh. 

And how well was the breeder researched? Apparently, the breeder is according Twitter @chloegrinnell who last night I am told  revealed this was an accidental mating. Again I am told there were no health tests and this breeder is only 17 years old. Twitter says she is selling the other pups at £1,200 a time and that Peter Andre has picked one up to go with his Battersea Rescue Dog. How much of this is true, I don't know. But it was and is the talk of Twitter.

Keith is a very funny guy, but whoever gave this item the go ahead on his team forgot that a huge number of those watching are genuine pet lovers and a high percentage of them would be about as offended by this item as they could possibly be. And also that this prime time display of pester power working seems to make the buying of a puppy about as significant as buying a barbeque - one of the other prizes on offer on the show.

This wasn't satire - it just revealed a total institutional ignorance of basic animal welfare issues at the heart of ITV. 

It showed a broadcaster totally out of touch with a significant group of their audience and the laws of the territory it was broadcasting to. 

Not funny.

Charity opinion received so far:

 "The RSPCA has received a number of complaints from members of the public after the programme aired on Saturday regarding the programme giving pets as presents. There was also concern over the use of a crocodile on the show.

"We can confirm that we are looking into the issues raised and are writing to the production company to voice our concerns.

"We would encourage anyone who has concerns over the use of animals in television shows to write to Ofcom."

"Dogs Trust was shocked and disappointed to see a puppy being given as a prize on Keith Lemon's show, Lemonaid. It is highly inappropriate to promote the frivolous gifting of dogs in this fashion and we are concerned that viewers may follow suit without giving any thought to the life-long commitment that dogs command. It was irresponsible to allow such a flippant competition to air on a prime time entertainment television slot. Sadly, animal welfare charities like Dogs Trust often deal with the fallout when dogs are bought on a whim and discarded when the novelty wears off. This poor attempt at entertainment was ill-judged and we urge ITV to issue a full and considered response on this matter."

For more information and advice about rehoming a dog please go to www.dogstrust.org.uk

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home was very disappointed to see a puppy being given as a prize in the recent episode of ITV2’s Keith Lemon’s LemonAid (broadcast Sunday 28 April 2012)
This is a family entertainment show and we feel it was highly irresponsible of ITV to  offer a dog as part of a game show gimmick. We fear many children and their parents will be influenced by what they saw on this show and will have little understanding of the full responsibilities of pet ownership. Whilst we appreciate that the nature of this show is very tongue in cheek, this does not condone such actions.
Our advice to any potential dog owners is always to properly research what is involved in owning a  new dog or puppy and contact a rescue centre or registered breeder if you feel you can offer the right home to a new dog.

The Kennel Club was appalled to see a puppy being given away as a prize on the ITV show Keith Lemon's Lemonaid and the following is our statement:

The Kennel Club is disappointed and shocked that a puppy was given as a prize on a prime-time ITV show and is writing to the television producers and to Ofcom to outline its concerns.

The Kennel Club’s Code of Ethics prohibits breeders from giving puppies as prizes, stating that breeders: ‘Will not sell any dog to commercial dog wholesalers, retail pet dealers or directly or indirectly allow dogs to be given as a prize or donation in a competition of any kind.’

Selling puppies as prizes is also illegal in Scotland. The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2000 states that a person commits an offence if ‘the person offers or gives an animal to another person as a prize.’

The Kennel Club advised television researchers last week that a puppy should never be given away as a prize. 

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are extremely disappointed to see ITV giving a puppy away as a prize. This is strictly against the Kennel Club Code of Ethics and sends out completely the wrong message about puppy ownership to both breeders and puppy buyers.

“The golden rule for buying a puppy, which the Kennel Club highlights during its Puppy Awareness Week in September and throughout the year, is that people should always see the puppy with its mother and in its home environment, before they buy.

“Puppies are not commodities but are a lifelong commitment, and the Kennel Club campaigns to ensure that people buy puppies responsibly and that breeders advertise and sell responsibly. Anyone involved in dog breeding should understand that proper informed research by a potential puppy owner is essential before taking on the responsibility of dog ownership, and that a breeder should be directly involved in some form of vetting to ensure the suitability of the puppy buyer.”
Comment in from the SSPCA:
 Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, "We are aware that Keith Lemon's LemonAid apparently gave a puppy as a prize, though it is not clear whether this was in pretence or not.
"Giving animals as prizes is illegal in Scotland though as this programme was filmed in England it would be for the relevant bodies south of the border to investigate whether an offence has been committed.
"At the very least, giving away or pretending to give away any animal as a prize sends the wrong message.
"We encourage responsible pet ownership which includes due care and thought being taken before taking on a pet and ensuring owners have the time, knowledge and financial resources required."


Anonymous said…
OML when does it end?! All for the sake of pubicity.... :(
Anonymous said…
I'm lost for words.
Anonymous said…
Good ole Blighty, where people complain for the sake of complaining.

What difference would it have made if the parents supplied their kids with a puppy off air?


Get a grip.
Laura said…
It gets worse, Peter Andre tweeted a pic of the puppy and it's only 7weeks old :-(
suemckenna said…
Low class tv at its best.Peter and Keith have both got a voice and should of refused to take part in this programm..both have lost the respect of thousands of people now.
Anonymous said…
On Keith Lemon's Twitter page he claims "parents were checked out by breeder" beforehand. Ok that may be the case but what he/producers are clearly missing is that (a) the viewers don't know that checks have taken place & (b) their actions show people it is ok to give a live animal as a prize/gift (going against rescues who try to discourage people giving animals as gifts). Him hiding behind "I'm just the host" doesn't cut it for me let alone "do you believe everything you see on TV?". Well no, I don't but there are a lot of people who do.
Anonymous said…
Totally irresponsible and stupid - ITV has sunk to an all time low. One despairs at the ignorance of so called entertainers...and dog breeders.

Just hope the pup will be looked after well.
George said…
Just for the sake of sanity, can I point out that no one has committed a crime here?!

The show was filmed in England. Just because the show was broadcast in Scotland as well, does not make the producers subject to Scottish law.

When Americans watch British TV, they don't demand that people crossing the road are charged with 'jay-walking'.

I'm certain that the families would have been appropriately 'vetted' (no pun intended), and had their homes inspected for suitability before being allowed anywhere near the puppy.

These shows aren't just made on a whim!
Queenie said…
I find this appalling ! What sort of life will the puppy have.? I bet the family hadn't got any food, bedding or even a dish for it. then there's the question of neutering, chipping etc, not to mention years of vet bills and responsibility. A dog isn't something you win on a show, it's a living, breathing being.! I don't watch Lemon, and I certainly won't now. Where are all the rescue orgs in their condemnation.?
There aren't words to describe how completely disgusted I am at this. If they cannot afford to buy a dog (a puppy is a dog; the cute baby phase does not last forever) then they sure as hell can't afford to keep one. ITV need lambasting for this.
Manda Scott said…
Has anyone else noticed the propensity to use dogs in ads - and use them inappropriately? I saw a child putting 'bunny ears' on a dog in an ad recently and threw a fit. The 'dressing up' of dogs is abuse and it doesn't need to be repeated in a nightly advert.
Anonymous said…
The Twitter account for the "breeder" has been deleted (or blocked?)

I do agree that this is disgraceful behaviour by both the network and influential public figures, and have complained, but do let's put things into perspective.

Much worse things have been on television recently. You already cited Super Tiny Animals, and now a contestant on BGT has said on air she's going to treat herself to a "Teacup Micro Yorkie" if she wins. (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/britain_got_talent/4287029/Simon-Cowells-going-to-the-dogs-when-BGT-ends.html)

There is also a new BBC3 show called "Don't Blame the Dog" which, as far as I can tell from comments without actually having seen the shows, appear to yet again be promoting dominance techniques and even advocating the use of a prong collar!

Perhaps our energy and outrage would be better directed elsewhere?
Lucy King (Paws for Success) said…
Looks like Chloe's left Twitter - can't say I blame her - her whole feed was full of slating comments, but Lemonaid is officially ridiculous.
Valerie R-Jones said…
Don't Blame the Dog has shown some episodes where we've seen dogs wearing prong/pinch collars and harsh training methods. I found those episodes totally inappropriate.
They filmed one excellent episode at a very big animal shelter in Melbourne, Australia, which hopefully will have opened the eyes of the public as to what happens to dogs they no longer want.
amanda said…
To all the people who agreed with this puppy being given away - have some guts - come on to the facebook page. But I doubt you will!!!!!
Katt said…
Laura Peter Andre adopted a pug named Charlie and recently got a pup named porridge. No news reports to say if the pup is adopted or purchased from a breeder. Could be numerous reasons why the pup was released early some examples: dog adopted from a rescue centre, pup rejected from litter, mother rejected pup, something happen to mother, family circumstances etc. Yes a breeder could have sold pup early but No one know yet so no one should jump to conclusions about this pup until You have 100% proof.

I thought the Itv programme lemonade was totally irresponsible, I am happy to hear that the family was vetted to see if they are responsible and know how to take care of the dog the tv program should have stated this was done. I do hope that itv do not do this ever again.
Katt said…
Amanda please stop daring/antagonising people by doing this you are the one that looks aggressive and baiting and you do the animal world an injustice. Educate people do not bait people.

Beverly try catching the bbc3 dog program as rather questionable training dogs happens.
Katt said…
I have just done some research and it's seems Peter Andre did purchase the pup from the breeder. I also notice how some took sheer enjoyment abusing a seventeen year old that in the end the young girl and friends retaliated. Educate do not ram down people's necks, give people the opportunity to understand, do not attack or abuse another.

It does not look good when people do such things you do more damage than good.
Elaine Hart said…
I agree, puppies, or adult dogs should NOT be awarded as prizes on quiz shows. Both are a serious responsibilty, which should NOT be undertaken without a great deal of thought and consideration, especially regarding the canine's welfare, training etc. Dogs are wonderful in the right circumstances. Choice of breed should involve research and agreement of each adult's duties, pretty much like the rotas that appear on Victoria Stilwell's and Cesar Milan's excellent dog programs.
I don't get this."Puppies are not commodities but are a lifelong commitmen." Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.

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Gwen said…
Strangely, 2 of the child contestants are listed on the "Star Now" website as performers, Archie has his own listing and Honey is listed with her Mother Olley, who is an actress/presenter. Not just run of the mill kids desperate for a puppy then. Archie's Mum has updated his profile page with details of his performance on LemonAid, he applied to sing, this is his ambition, and "within 2 days" was on the show as a contestant in a competition, as they already had a choir. No mention of buying a puppy in the course of the day!

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