Emmerdale dog poisoning storyline prompts more than 850 complaints to Ofcom

The soap reassured viewers that the dog was perfectly fine and there was no harm done to the animal while filming.

Emmerdale has been the subject of complaints
Emmerdale has been the subject of complaints (Lizzie Shepherd/ITV Studios/PA)

More than 850 complaints have been made to broadcast regulator Ofcom about an Emmerdale storyline featuring a dog being poisoned.

During the ITV1 soap, vet Tom King (James Chase), the abusive husband of Belle King (Eden Taylor-Draper), used a syringe to poison her dog Piper in an effort to see her after she went to a mental health facility.

Before administering it, Tom says: “Don’t worry, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. Actually, maybe not.”

There were 513 complaints to Ofcom on May 27 and 363 complaints on May 28.

In a post on X, the soap reassured viewers that the dog was perfectly fine and there was no harm done to the animal while filming.

“These scenes can be distressing to watch, but we want to remind you that Minnie (AKA Piper) is a very good actor and is always living her best life on set! We can confirm that no harm has come to her whatsoever,” a statement said.

Elsewhere, a discussion about XL bully dogs on Good Morning Britain prompted 1,634 complaints from audiences between May 28 and June 3.

Richard Madeley discussed XL bully dogs
Richard Madeley discussed XL bully dogs (Ian West/PA)

On May 30, Ranvir Singh and Richard Madeley were presenting the ITV morning show when guest and broadcaster Mike Parry compared the dog breed to the fictional serial killer “Hannibal Lecter” in front of owner Kay Taiwo.

Kay defended the animal, citing other breeds of dog, and saying that “training” is needed for these XL bullies.

“If you’re talking about the size of a dog making you feel afraid, there’s so many dogs you can feel afraid of,” Kay added. “And if you’re talking about the purpose of a breed, then you don’t understand the purpose of an XL.”

Parry then interrupted her, talking about the law surrounding owning the dogs, and they seemed to shout over each other before Singh intervened.

From February 1, it became a criminal offence to own the XL bully breed in England and Wales without an exemption certificate amid concerns about the breed following attacks.

There were also 637 complaints related to comments made by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari about nut allergies on This Morning on May 28, Ofcom said.

Josie Gibson and Dermot O’Leary were presenting the ITV programme when Ferrari responded to reports of a new airline aimed at dogs. He spoke about what he would like to see on planes, discussing peanuts and saying he cannot get them because people could “drop dead or something”.

Dermot O’Leary apologised
Dermot O’Leary apologised

O’Leary then appeared to laugh at what he was saying.

The hosts apologised on This Morning the next day with O’Leary saying: “Quickly before we start, yesterday there was a reference on the show to nut allergies in The Morning View. Apologies from us.

“We just want to reiterate that we take those very seriously, especially dangerous ones, on the show.

“So following on from stories this week about a family not being able to fly because of an allergy issue we’re going to be doing a special segment on it next week as well.”

ITV’s Britain Got Talent had 92 complaints following Kent singer Sydnie Christmas being crowned the 2024 winner.

Ofcom said the complaints “related to a variety of issues including the outcome”.

ITV has been contacted for comment.