Alison Hammond shares blunt message to ‘trolls’ criticising For the Love of Dogs hiring

Alison Hammond has shared a blunt response to those criticising her replacement of Paul O’Grady on ITV series For the Love of Dogs.

Earlier this year, the channel announced that This Morning presenter Hammond would succeed O’Grady as host of the show after the star’s death, aged 67, in March 2023.

News of Hammond’s appointment was met with criticism from internet trolls, something the TV star addressed ahead of the series return on Wednesday (17 April).

Hammond said she “was actually surprised with how much” blowback she got after the announcement, highlighting one particular complaint she received that she described as “flawed”.

The presenter told The Sun’s TV Mag: “I could understand in the sense that Paul was so loved and people were saying: ‘How can she do Love of Dogs when she doesn’t have a dog? How does she love dogs when she doesn’t have a dog?’ It’s like saying: ‘How can you love children when you haven’t got kids?’

“It’s such a flawed argument for me and all I would say is: ‘If you don’t want to watch it, don’t watch it.’ That’s what I would say to those trolls: ‘Don’t watch it then. If you don’t want to help Battersea, don’t watch it’.”

She continued: “Trolls will be trolls and I’ll still do what I do best, which is TV presenting and you’ll see for yourself, I think it’s authentic and I loved doing it.”

The series, which saw O’Grady meet rescue animals in need of owners at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, returned on Wednesday (17 April).

After signing onto the role, Hammond made a promise to O’Grady, stating: “I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series, but if I can continue to shine a light on the brilliant work done at Battersea and help to tell the stories of these beautiful dogs, then it will be an absolute privilege to give it my all.

“I can’t wait to share the joy of their searches for new loving forever homes and hopefully make lots of furry friends of my own along the way.”

Alison Hammond with the ‘For the Love of Dogs’ team (ITV)
Alison Hammond with the ‘For the Love of Dogs’ team (ITV)

In 2022, O’Grady was joined by Camilla for a special one-off episode to mark 160 years of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an organisation for which he was an ambassador.

The TV star’s love for animals was well-known, and he had lived in a farmhouse in Kent with Portasio along with a menagerie of animals including four dogs, goats, sheep, chickens and barn owls.