On July 10, 2012, in Belfast, Ireland, an innocent dog, who had never displayed any signs of aggression, was destroyed for looking like a Pit Bull, a breed not allowed in Britain. (Lennox was, actually, a bull dog mix.) After nearly two years of enormous public outrage, professional evaluations by esteemed behaviorists, petitions, huge social media campaigns, and heartbreak felt by his family and dog lovers worldwide, nothing could stop the Belfast City Council from killing Lennox. The gentle, beautiful dog gave his life because of the outdated, uneducated Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) laws.
A few days ago, Victoria Stilwell voiced her opinion on BBC Radio as she spoke with Pat McCarthy, the head of Belfast City Council’s Environmental Health Committee. Victoria had personally offered to bring Lennox to the United States, where he could live his life in a sanctuary. Not only was she denied, but the Barnes family, the people who had to relinquish him for breed testing, were not allowed to visit him before his death. Incidentally, when Lennox was taken from Caroline Barnes in 2009, it was because he looked like a Pit Bull, not because he showed any signs of aggression.
James Crosby, CBCC-KA, canine aggression expert, gave his assessment of the Lennox case. Included in the link is a video of Lennox being tested for aggression. Even when provoked, he still showed absolutely no signs of aggression, despite the fact that Belfast City Council dog warden said that Lennox was ‘the most dangerous and unpredictable dog’ she had ever encountered. Below the video (in the above link) is Crosby’s detailed professional analysis of Lennox’s response to the tester.
My heart goes out to Lennox’s family and every dog and person who has suffered because of ignorance and discrimination. I have a candle burning in memory of Lennox and envision a time in my life when BSL no longer exists.
What you can do:
- A Care2 petition called Lennox’ Law aims to end BSL worldwide. 200,000 signatures are needed. Add yours here.
- Become educated. The National Pit Bull Awareness Campaign is a nationwide effort to bring positive awareness and attention to the American Pit Bull Terrier.
- Speak up. When you hear neighbors and friends speak negatively about any breed, gently provide educated statements to help them expand their thinking.
- Volunteer at your local shelter. Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes are overcrowding shelters. Help in whatever way you can.
- Add your comment below, expressing your opinion of what happened to Lennox.