After a lengthy two year court battle in Ireland and an international media frenzy, a beloved family pet named Lennox who was a Labrador/American Bulldog mix, was executed today by the Belfast City Council. Lennox was wrongfully ripped away from his loving family (The Barnes’) and taken into custody by dog wardens in Belfast in May of 2010, simply because the size and shape of his head fit a “pitt bull type’ of dog. There, pit bulls are banned and the UK has a nonsensical law called the “Dangerous Dogs Act” which they claim Lennox violated because of how he looked. He never had any behavioral issues, never bit anyone, wasn’t aggressive and was always registered, micro-chipped and up to date on shots. In fact, he was Caroline Barnes’ disabled daughter’s therapy dog!
After the Barnes family fought to get their dog back for two years, an upper court held up a previous ruling that Lennox was to be destroyed. The original ruling was based on falsified information given to the court by Alexandra Lightfoot (the dog warden who was photographed playing with Lennox and letting him lick her face) and Peter Tallack-a dog walker who testified as an “animal expert” even though he had no such qualifications. Despite the court’s ruling, the Belfast City Council had the power to stay Lennox’s execution and even re-home him to the United States where he could live out his years at a sanctuary, in peace. Both celebrity dog trainers Cesar Millan and Victoria Stilwell offered this (expense-free in Victoria’s case) to the Belfast City Council, but the hatemongers said no. They wouldn’t even meet with Millan, Stilwell, or any of the other well-known animal behaviorists who wanted to discuss alternative solutions with them, much less allow them to evaluate Lennox.
And so by 7AM this morning Belfast time, Lennox was murdered. And to add insult to injury, the Barnes family weren’t allowed to say good-bye to Lennox one last time! The Belfast City Council wouldn’t let them pick-up Len’s body and bring him home for a proper burial, and they informed them that they would be receiving “some” ashes in the mail. All of these odd and insensitive behaviors are leading some to speculate that Lennox was actually killed awhile ago or that his body was in such poor condition from abuse and neglect that the BCC didn’t want anyone to see it. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure there will be a full investigation into the handling of the case, and at the very least, brave individuals like Stilwell have vowed to see the Dangerous Dogs Act overturned. There is also a worldwide boycott of tourism and goods from Belfast which you can read about here and sign the petition which is growing immensely, as well as a movement to repeal BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) in various countries so that tragic stories like this don’t happen again. In case you want to express your thoughts to the Belfast City Council, you can find each council member and their contact info here, contact the dog warden’s office directly by emailing email@example.com or use their mailing address:
Belfast City Council
FREEPOST BT1 5BR
If in the US, dial 011 first, then 028 9027 0274
Through all of their pain and grief, the Barnes family have remained full of dignity and class, releasing this statement today:
Lennox was murdered at 7am this morning, the family weren’t allowed to say goodbye, his family were refused to be allowed to be by his side.
Love you pup, you will forever be remembered for your bravery, the amazing people you brought together, and for those you helped.
You are loved sweet boy, run free, we will meet again someday, you will always be alive in the hearts of many who fought for you.
No longer at the hands of those that cause you pain.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Barnes family, and to Lennox, I hope you have finally found peace.