Emmerdale boss breaks silence on dog abuse controversy – and it may happen again

Emmerdale boss has spoken out about her controversial decision to show Tom King (James Chase) abusing his wife Belle’s (Eden Taylor-Draper) beloved dog Piper.

850 complaints were made to broadcast regulator Ofcom after the pooch was poisoned.

During an episode of the ITV soap, Tom King, who has manipulated and controlled Belle for months, used a syringe to poison her dog Piper in an effort to see her after she was admitted to a mental health facility.

Before carrying out the act, Tom said: ‘Don’t worry, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. Actually, maybe not.’



Following the huge backlash from viewers, Emmerdale were forced to release behind-the-scenes footage of Minnie, the doggy actor who plays Piper, to ensure she was safe.


Alongside the video they wrote: ‘‘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.’

However, despite the outcry, producer Laura Shaw has defended her decision to air the scenes and has said it was something which was alerted to them during research for the plot.

‘We should have got an ugly dog!’ she joked in a recent chat.

Belle at the abortion clinic in Emmerdale
Tom electrocuted in the barn in Emmerdale
‘I don’t think having such a cute dog has helped. Whenever you put any pet in danger on Emmerdale everyone goes up in arms about it. Did I expect it? Yes.’Tom electrocuted in the barn in Emmerdale

She continued: ‘Piper will certainly have a future role in the story. I’m joking about it but it’s research-led. One of the things we found is that that’s one of the things that abusers will use, they use a family pet, people you love, they’ll use them as weapons against you.

‘So this is all based on research, I promise you it’s not just us being mean to the dog for the sake of it.’

In upcoming scenes, Tom learns that Belle has sought help from an abortion clinic and seeks revenge.

Prior to that, Belle will confess to her mental health coordinator that she lied to Tom about having a miscarriage and during their conversation, it soon dawns on her that the reality of her situation is that her husband is, in fact, an abuser.

Little does she know, back in the village, Noah (Jack Downham) innocently tells Tom that he saw Belle in town when she was supposed to be walking her dog.

All hell breaks loose, and he begins to smash up the barn he’s in – but as he raises the metal bar above his head it connects with the rotary isolator and charges an electric shock through his body, sending him flying across the room.

Tom attempts to strike Belle at Dale Head in Emmerdale
Sadly, that’s not the end of the character and he will continue to wreak havoc on his wife’s life.

On the overwhelming audience reaction, Laura said it was ‘phenomenal’.

‘Domestic abuse is not new to soap, it’s been covered before but we’ve covered it in different ways, using technology, the fact Belle’s mental health has been used against her’ she said.



‘It’s a slightly different way of showing domestic abuse. The reaction from the audience has been incredible really.

‘The messages and comments we’ve had, so many women reaching out – and men as well reaching out – saying “This is what happened to me and I felt like this as well.”

‘It’s been upsetting at times for us to read some of it and you realise just how many people are affected by it, but on the other hand you’re aware that you’re giving people a voice and that they are able to speak out and that’s what they want.’

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