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BBC defends 'Pooch Perfect' after complaints from viewers

Julia Hunt
·Contributor
·3-min read
Kara, Kelly D, Stanley, Sheridan Smith, Lakhi, Hannah on Pooch Perfect (Beyond Productions/Becky Robinson)
Kara, Kelly D, Stanley, Sheridan Smith, Lakhi, Hannah on Pooch Perfect (Beyond Productions)

The BBC has defended its show Pooch Perfect after complaints from viewers, saying “no dog was harmed physically or mentally”.

The competition to find Britain’s best dog groomer, hosted by Sheridan Smith, sees dogs having makeovers.

Some grooms – including those which saw dogs wearing costumes and having their hair dyed – came under fire from viewers.

Read more: Viewers call Pooch Perfect's doggy makeovers 'blissful escapism'

And the BBC has confirmed it received complaints from some people who claimed “the premise of the programme sets a bad example to pet owners”.

However, the corporation said no dog was harmed and that producers had consulted with both the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY AUGUST 25 File photo dated 12/05/19 of Sheridan Smith who has revealed how she had five seizures after she stopped taking anti-anxiety medication she had become addicted to. The actress, 39, has filmed an ITV documentary on mental health struggles to help other women.
Sheridan Smith (PA)

The BBC said in a statement that “grooming is a healthy and necessary part of responsible dog ownership particularly with certain breeds”.

Watch: Dramatic rescue of woman and dog who fell through ice

It went on: “During the production process, the producers consulted with both the RSPCA and British Veterinary Association (BVA) to ensure best practise as regards animal welfare.

“Both organisations were given details of the proposed grooming challenges and both were happy to recommend individuals who then became part of the production team.”

The statement said all of the challenges on Pooch Perfect were “designed to highlight the skills and knowledge of the professional groomers taking part in the show”.

“At no point did the animal welfare team feel there was any risk to the dogs' welfare and all the dogs were monitored throughout to ensure they were happy, did not show signs of stress, that they had sufficient food and water and had adequate rest away from the studio environment,” it went on.

Addressing the use of hair colour, the statement said: “Any use of colour was strictly controlled and only used to highlight the groom and any use of colour was explained and contextualised for each groom.

“All colour was temporary, animal safe and washed out almost immediately depending on the dog’s coat.”

The BBC said any outfits were “dog friendly” and were checked by the animal welfare team, as were any accessories used.

It was also noted that owners were given the option to have their dogs regroomed the following day, and that after the series had been filmed the owners reported that their dogs were “happy and healthy, had enjoyed the process and had not suffered any ill effects”.

The BBC also said the series made it clear that the contestants were professional dog groomers and that their techniques should not be tried at home.

Read more: Sheridan Smith - 'My wild partying days are over now I've found peace as a mum'

“Every precaution was taken throughout filming to ensure each individual dog’s welfare and the production team firmly believes every dog was well treated and that no dog was harmed physically or mentally by the process,” the statement concluded.

Additional reporting by PA.

Watch: Sheridan Smith shares rare photo of son