LemonAid cleared over puppy prize

An ITV1 show which saw comedy character Keith Lemon give away a puppy as a prize has been cleared by the TV watchdog.

Keith Lemon's LemonAid sparked 237 complaints about the competition, A Right Dog's Dinner, in which children took part accompanied by their parents.

Viewers accused ITV of promoting an irresponsible attitude to pet ownership by giving away a puppy in an entertainment show.

ITV said that it regretted that the programme, which was broadcast on a Saturday evening in April and presented by Leigh Francis as his comedy character, had generated complaints.

But it said that it had made checks on the families taking part in the show to ensure that they could look after the puppy properly.

Watchdog Ofcom said that it "accepts that this material may have caused offence to some viewers who object in principle to a puppy being given away as a prize in an entertainment programme".

But it said that the puppy was in no discomfort while on stage and that the broadcaster took "very extensive measures" to ensure the welfare of the animal.

It said broadcasters should consider telling viewers what measures they have taken to ensure the welfare of animals featured in programmes.

In 2010, ITV was fined for animal cruelty after contestants on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! killed and ate a rat.