We all know TV can work wonders for good causes and many great documentaries have highlighted animal cruelty, the stray dog problem and much more.  There is another side, shown last night on the ITV show LemonAid was the throw away giving of dogs as prizes on TV.
Updates at end of article

The magic of TV means this was probably not the random “competition” it seemed.  Especially as a named sparkly collar had already been made. Twitter was alight with complaints, partly fuelled by a girl of 17 claiming to be the breeder of the pups.  She is in fact the elder daughter of the breeder, whose details and Facebook links I am not sharing, even though the pups were offered for sale there.  This child was simply showing off, especially as Peter Andre has today bought a pup.  However her rudeness is not excusable.

The breeder claims an accidental breeding, yet owns two Pugs, the litter are KC registered and for sale at bitches £1200 and males £1100.  They learn fast, these accidental breeders.

This is a breed with health concerns and is one of the 15 high profile breeds that now needs a vet check to pass as Best of Breed at a show.  Not the easiest of pets then, and an educated home needed surely?  Of course, this could have happened?  But we don’t know.

So what’s the actual problem here?  Some think this is pointless energy wasted on a stupid TV show?  The rest of us think it isn’t, because it’s our time and money that will be spent putting this right.

If you’re not the ones seeing the heartbreak of dogs abandoned, suffering, dumped and killed, then yes, go on saying this is just TV.  For the rest if us it isn’t.  The surge today on Facebook and Twitter of people wanting a Pug is testament to the stupidity of this sort of TV show.  If it’s not your phone ringing, your dash to save a dying dog, your money being spent dealing with the consequences then I envy you.

The breeder is inexperienced, has sold these pups at least a week to soon for their mental development, is in no position to give the in depth help someone needs for a lifetime of any dog ownership and is not even a KC Assured Breeder.  How the researcher for this found this breeder, I don’t know, maybe the decent ones turned them down as no good breeder allows pups to go as prizes.  A good breeder wouldn’t entertain this for a moment, so maybe a star struck family with their first litter were dazzled by the TV?

Ask the existing Pug Breeders and rescues in a few weeks how much this has cost.  We may as well give up the fight against puppy farmers and back yard breeders as TV doesn’t care.

The fact Peter Andre bought one today appalls me.  I am told a few weeks ago he adopted a rescue Pug from Battersea?  Wasn’t he listening?

So what now?  Complain properly.   Lots are moaning all over FB and Twitter.  TELL the people that make TV and act on complaints. Also tell the company that made this you won’t tolerate this abuse.

Complain to Ofcom, you have to know the show name and broadcast time was 18.15 28th April Keith lemon’s LemonAid http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/tv-and-radio/a-specific-programme/

Tell the company that made this show too  http://www.itv.com/beontv/keithlemonlemonaid/default.html

I have also contacted the Kennel Club via Twitter and email to their press department asking if they are releasing a statement.  Technically the breeder hasn’t broken any KC rules if this “competition” isn’t quite what it seemed, as giving away puppies as prizes is against the KC Code of ethics.  I am hoping that this isn’t a get out for the breeder or the show if they say it was never really a prize.

(updated to slightly reword the last bit as have confused some readers the way I explained the KC rules)

Join us on Twitter for more updates
Latest 1st May:
The Kennel Club statement says they are appalled, repeated the law but no mention of whether an investigation will happen. They do say they have written to the breeder.
The teen has removed her Twitter account and an adult has posted a Facebook apology on her account. However this apology misses mention of all the main issues and her very public abuse of people, including a disabled person.
We have spoken to the breeder and offered some suggested solutions, but after saying they would consider them, they haven’t accepted.
I applaud the decent breeders out there who turned this down, we are working on an idea for shows in the future to try and stop a repeat.

Daily Mail have covered story http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137928/ITV-allowing-Keith-Lemon-comedian-Leigh-Francis-away-puppy-prize-primetime-show.html

Update 2nd May:
The ITV response to complaints says that vets visited the homes of the three families competing for a puppy.  I find it hard to believe that three vets would assist a show to look like a puppy was given away as a competition prize?  I know people are speaking to the BVA about this.
There is also a rumour and at this point it is just a rumour, that the  other two families were also given a puppy off camera.  I am writing to the producers of the show for a response to this point.   Please do keep up the pressure on ITV and Ofcom to make sure this never happens again.  We also await the outcome of the KC having written to this breeder.

About Safepets UK

Expert Witness behaviourist assessing dogs for court, treating cats and dogs. Covering Midlands to London and other areas.

16 responses »

  1. Please see this facebook page set up to protest about this irresponsible act https://www.facebook.com/KeithLemonsPuppyPrizeProtest

  2. Excellent post. Have contacted OFCOM to make a complaint.

  3. Laura buckle says:

    I am truly appalled at the above statement regarding my friend and her beautiful litter of pugs.
    I have watched as she has nurtured, cared for and loved both her own dogs and the puppies throughout. As a complete novice to breeding- (I can assure you, it was very much an accident and a shock to the family) she has read, researched and helped to bring up the most beautiful puppies that we (her friends) and her family love very much.
    As a dog owner myself I appreciate your concerns re the puppies and mr andre having taken ownership, however I have NEVER in my life encountered such a vetting system
    As what my friend has used when looking at potential owners.. All owners were practically “interviewed” and “interrogated” to make sure they were suitable.. A game show will Only show you the interesting bits, it doesn’t tell you about the interviews that went on before hand and the endless meetings with the potential owners. Wirh regards to mr Andre taking ownership – well I think your opinion is rather bigoted.. Why shouldn’t a celebrity be capable of being a fantastic dog owner? He already owns one beautiful pug who is very well cared for and now that little put had a beautiful play mate?! I don’t see the problem?
    At the end of the day, everyone who knows the owner (who is not a 17 year old girl) knows that these puppies were not some grand moneymaking scheme they were a very loved and happy accident. All owners are I contact with the breeder- even arranging for the breeder ro have the pups back for holiday care etc… I can honestly say that all of the “reputable” breeders I have come across have never offered me such service?!

    • safepets uk says:

      Laura, thank you for your comment. As a picture was circulated of the dogs “having sex” as they put it and hilarity that he had got past the “special pants” this wasn’t a shock. Do you know what Peter Andre was doing in the first 24 hours he had the puppy? We do and he wasn’t with the puppy.
      A lot of things could have been done and still could be to protect the future lives of these pups, I have offered, I cannot do more than that.
      This teen abused and swore at people with an audience of thousands, including targetting a disabled person. She has yet to acknowledge or apologise for this despite an adult composing an apology for her. I have invited this person to comment here too.
      I have said this competition really wasn’t one, but the fact remains this breeder broke the Kennel Club code of ethics when she gave a puppy to a tv show as a prize. I understand the KC await the breeder’s response so I can’t comment further.
      What the dog world is looking for is for this breeder to understand and demonstrate that they grasp the serious consequences of what they did to protect not just their pups, but the whole breed they love, as I assure you, puppy farmers are indeed breeding Pugs to satisfy the demand they have created as we speak.

      • Laura buckle says:

        I haven’t read the 17 year old’s blog and don’t think I want to, but let’s not forget that at 17, young people are very star struck and often say things without thinking.. I just feel the need to tell you and anyone else reading this that these puppies were loved and are still loved very much by the breeder, who has followed instructions from vets and other professionals in relation to the health of the pups, the new owners are all in contact with the breeder on a daily basis. I’m sure Peter Andre was busy last night but I also know for a fact that the puppy was for him and his family (for which there are many of them) and their little Minnie is very well and very loved by everyone who lives in his house.
        It’s a very difficult situation and as a dog lover/ owner myself I can totally understand your concerns, but I know that these puppies are all happy healthy and loved. Surely that’s the most important thing ?

  4. safepets uk says:

    No Laura I don’t believe it’s enough to say puppies are all happy healthy and loved and leave it there. It also isn’t enough to say a teenager’s abuse is ok because she was star struck. To target a person with disabilities and her assistance dog and laugh and share her friends abuse needs more from this girl and her family. You admit you haven’t read it, it wasn’t on a blog, read it first before further commenting.
    The impact on the breed of this breeder’s decisions is huge and the future of her puppies could be further protected as could that of other puppies if they do the right thing.
    I know the breeder was horrified at her daughter’s behaviour, she said so, but she has not made any public statement that I have seen. We have quotes from her which I am not adding as I offered both help for the pups and help with a proper statement amongst other things and whilst she hasn’t yet accepted it, I do still hope she will.
    I’d rather write the right, complete quote than just what she has said so far as I think it would make things worse and not better.

  5. Laura, I am the person who was insulted and abused by the 17 year old on Twitter on Saturday night. I made it clear to her at the time that indulging in disability hate online has consequences, and she chose to continue and got her friends to join in. It is no wonder her Twitter account has been removed, but the damage she has done cannot be wiped away so easily, I await her public apology for her very public hateful behaviour.

    I saw the crafted apology posted in her name on Facebook last night and can easily see it is not the same writer as was commenting from the same account the night before and on Twitter, even with a full day at school she could not have achieved such a notable improvement in her grammar and attitude.

    I could easily have blogged the screenshots of her hateful language, added a few key words and ensured it comes up every time someone types her name into Google, what a joy that might be for prospective employers eh? I have not done so, as I believe human beings are essentially good and not evil, and would not wish to damage her long term reputation.

    However, if she or her family had any grace whatsoever, they would get online and apologise in public for her very personal insults pronto.

    Their silence on this matter is deafening.

    • safepets uk says:

      Thank you for commenting Golden Caesar. I saw what she did and was one of many insulted by her, which continued via other encouraged people Sunday too. In my opinion she should make a personally written apology for what she personally did. I hope her parents do the same in the name of the protection of this breed.

  6. laa crosby says:

    I saw the abuse on twitter and as someone who worked with disabled young adults, special needs children and adults with disabilities, I was mortified. To think of children ever speaking with such hatred towards anyone let alone someone who could have been potentially more vulnerable than golden Caeser. It needs a proper apology .. just saying puppies are happy and healthy is not an apology or acknowledgement of the issues. The very fact that you amongst others are prepared to brush this off and not deal with the situation is not a good attribute to be showing a 17 year old.. which also leads me to wonder who taught her to behave this way.. She should say sorry and her parents held responsible too.

  7. Julie Hill says:

    A number of us were spoken to very rudely on Twitter, but GoldenCaesar you were treated worse than most, and you were nothing but civil and patient in response. Yes youngsters will make mistakes – it is what they learn from them and how they are taught to respond to their errors that matters.
    It seems that many people involved are more interested in going through the motions of damage limitation rather than really addressing the problems involved – ITV being one of the worst judging by the, “thank you, now be a good viewer and shut up” reply I have had from them today.

    • safepets uk says:

      That is disappointing Julie, I think they have a standard template? Lets hope the Ofcom version is better. The KC say they have written to the producers too, lets see if anyone actually takes some action.

  8. L says:

    Like i said, i havent read the posts, and cant- they have gone. I just think you need to vent your anger towards ofcom, itv, Keith lemon show etc.. And not a 17 year old. I find it all a bit nasty. I understand as dog lovers you have your concerns, but as human beings you should also remember this is a 17 year old girl, how many people always said the right thing at 17?

    • safepets uk says:

      I don’t see anyone venting at this girl, she isn’t here, we haven’t given her name or anything else? Lots of other things are being asked here too. You have only responded about this teenager. We ask, as many are that the breeder makes a statement and simply that this teen makes her own apology? TV, the show, the principles and stopping this ever happening again is the priority? I notice Laura you don’t condemn giving dogs as prizes (which is what it looked like regardless of behind the scenes) or worry about the consequences for the breed or how many people now want a Pug on a whim? That’s the fight, surely? Still no mention of sympathy for the victims of this, whether the humans insulted, or the dogs now being bred and bought badly? What about the fact that your friend broke KC ethics doing this?
      I am disappointed there is still no breeder statement saying this was a mistake, don’t just go out and buy a Pug and we are sorry?

  9. safepets uk says:

    I have just added a link to the Daily Mail story who have just covered the controversy.

  10. laa crosby says:

    do you ever stop defending her verbal abuse to many people .. I personally find it worse shes seventeen, she should be reprimanded. Obviously this wont happen else the matter would of been dealt with by now.. So I shall move on, to the parents, the accidental breeders, I think its time to step up and issue a statement saying they admit they made a huge mistake giving away a SEVEN week old pup who by all rights should be with mum and pups learning vital socialisation within the litter. So if the vet actually told them this was a correct age he/she needs to step forward and explain why in their opinion this was correct.
    There is also the matter now of a independent vet visiting potential new owners and vetting their home. Sorry , this is a Vet, who deals with medical side. vets are not home checkers, not are they behaviourists .. we dont see home checkers claiming to be vets do we?? One would question just why a vet would want to participate in a low budget show giving a dog away?
    So a statement to the effect they have made a huge error and they are sorry for all the people they have upset.. the rescues who work hard to stop irresponsible ownership and tell people NOT to go out and buy a pug pup just because Peter Andre and Keith Lemon have played roles in this travesty.
    I also suggest the parents, breeders, make a donation to pug welfare and the seventeen old donates pocket money to Dogs for Disabled to show she truly regrets the vile comments about an assistance dog.

  11. Laura, it is probably time to stop defending what several people are telling you is indefensible. Ask your friend exactly what she said, and then come back and tell me yes it is ok to abuse people and claim exemption because one is 17.

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