RIP Lennox: Another Victim of Breed-Specific Legislation
Editor’s Note: The name on the lips of outraged dog lovers everywhere this week is Lennox — the dog who was killed by the Belfast City Council in Northern Ireland yesterday for resembling a Pit Bull, when he was really a Labrador/Bulldog mix. Lennox was on death row for two years, and they didn’t even let his family see him before they put him down.
Here’s the full report from Dogster, as written by Michael Leaverton:
Lennox the dog is dead, murdered by the Belfast City Council [yesterday] morning.
Nobody could save him. Not the Save Lennox Campaign, not social media, not Twitter, not Facebook, not political pressure by Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson, not the efforts of celebrity dog lovers like Victoria Stilwell, not an online army, not physical protestors swarming Belfast and British and Irish Consulates in New York, not worldwide vigils, and not your thoughts and prayers.
It all failed. Nothing worked and everything was tried. Lennox was at the mercy of the Belfast City Council, and the council showed none. With breathtaking stupidity, the council decided that the Bulldog/Lab mix, who had hurt no one, was a “Pit Bull-type” dog and needed to be put down. Why?
In a statement released before the murder, the council cited “experts” who concluded the Bulldog/Lab mix was dangerous. This morning it released another:
“Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type (Pit-Bull Terrier type) may be admitted as an alternative to destruction, there were no such measures that could be applied in this case that would address the concerns relating to public safety,” said the statement.
Pit-Bull Terrier-type? We’re still talking about Lennox, right? The Bulldog/Lab mix?
It went on, shockingly: ”The council’s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.”
Really, Belfast City Council? You sound like someone trying to save his ass, but careful, you might choke on that ridiculous hyperbole. And where’s your expert? Half of the animal behaviorists and experts in the world (with Victoria Stilwell leading the charge) were clamoring to visit Lennox, but you went with your guy. Trot him out. Let him talk.
And then, the statement falls off a cliff: “Over the past two years, Council officials have been subjected to a sustained campaign of abuse including threats of violence and death threats. The Council has been in ongoing contact with the PSNI in relation to that.”
Explain to us, Belfast City Council, what a line about how you’ve been suffering is doing in your 150-word statement about how you’ve killed an innocent dog? Oh, right: Tit for tat. We get it. Carry on, killers.
Are you confused? Outraged? Angry? You should be. What’s to stop people like this from finding “experts” to say your dog is dangerous? Nothing. There is nothing to stop them. If you live in an area where Dangerous Dog legislation exists or is coming (now is when you start paying attention to that), there is nothing you can do, when people like the Belfast City Council have “experts” who think a non-violent Bulldog/Lab mix is not only a Pit Bull, but “one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.” It’s a travesty.
Next: See our roundup of the most heartbreaking messages left by Lennox supporters
We end with messages — heartfelt, angry, sad — from the Save Lennox Campaign on Facebook:
Stephanie Boyd: ”A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter’s drawing near. His head is within our hand in his old way.”
Maggie Craven: I am so sorry for your loss, my heart is truly broken for you and your family! RIP Lennox you are at the rainbow bridge catching up on some much needed fun.
Audrey Quah: My heart breaks and weeps for the Barnes family especially lil Brooke. RIP Lennox, run free at rainbow bridge. You’re one very loved dog.
Rachael Ferguson: This is only the beginning of this saga. THERE MUST be an investigation into what REALLY went on behind the scenes in this case, from the dog warden who took Lennox right through to the BCC staff who laughed and made animal noises down the phone to people who rang in to enquire this morning. … RIP Lennox and love to him and his wonderful incredible family. it was an honour to briefly meet them and to support them throughout this battle. I will remain loyal to them in any future action they take.
Elaine Robins: BCC = Belfast Crooked Cowards!
Rowan Panda Davis: Poor fella. Belfast council have blood on their hands today. God bless Lennox.
Kathleen Burkett: Our prayers are with all who knew the love and beauty of Lennox, my heart breaks for you. Those who have ever loved a pit, pitmix or just a boxy headed dog know the struggles you have faced, I will take a pit who is loved over any other breed.
Marcello Morrone Liutaio: Boycott [Northern] Ireland. RIP Lennox
Tara Furmomforever Cohen: My heart to you in the loss of this beautiful boy. He has opened the eyes the eyes of the world and will not be forgotten. Run free as you were always meant to Lennox … BB
Karen Lawver: RIP Lennox. You are free now. I am so sorry your death was the only way to your freedom. I hope you remember the LOVE your family gave you. I know you were not dangerous and so does the rest of the world.
Cheryl Gavreluk: My condolences to the family. I can’t imagine the heartache you must be feeling at this time. He will look after you from above and always be with you in spirit.
Nancy Norwood Bowes: “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; the last, the least, the littlest.” I am ashamed to be part of the human race this morning. RIP Lennox! May your death be the catalyst for change, compassion, and understanding.
Sue Barbeau: Where one door closes, another opens …. let’s all believe that Lennox has opened the door to make this the beginning of the end of BSL.
Fiona Diggins: Rest In Peace sweet puppy, your death will not be in vain and we will keep fighting for an end to BSL. Your memory lives on. Sending love and hugs to the family, my thoughts are with you.
Teresa Manzo: Only tears … i love you little boy … now you are free … sorry dear … sorry …
You are also free to comment on the Belfast City Council Facebook. Caution: It’s hot in there.