Pit Bull Lennox Unjustly Put to Sleep in Northern Ireland, UKPublished July 12, 2012
Lennox as a puppy. Photo credit: DogsAreFamily/Facebook
I am outraged. News about innocent Lennox who was put to sleep in Northern Ireland simply because of his breed is hard to take for this pit bull lover. After two years in confinement and months on death row, Lennox, a seven-year-old pit bull terrier blend,was killed at midnight on Wednesday, July 11, 2012.
Pit bulls and dogs similar to them are banned in Britain. The Belfast City Council had deemed Lennox “unpredictable and dangerous”, and seized him from his owners in 2010. Lennox had done nothing to harm anyone. The City Council cited public safety as reason for their egregious behavior.
The fight to save Lennox began when he was taken from his family two years ago. A viral social-media campaign was launched both in Britain and the U.S. Animal rights activists and pit bull advocates demanded that the dog be released and returned to his owner Caroline Barnes. Barnes started legal proceedings to save Lennox and more than 200,000 signed the online petition for a stay of execution, but ultimately to no avail.
The execution of Lennox is outrageous because he had done nothing wrong. According to Barnes, the dog had never bitten anyone, and she had put a muzzle on him around strangers. Two lower courts in Northern Ireland had ruled him dangerous and ordered euthanasia. Northern Ireland’s Court of Appeal upheld the ruling.
A statement released by Belfast City council said: "Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type (pit-bull terrier) 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.”
It seems the Belfast City council was intent on killing Lennox, despite international outcry and offers to re-home him in the U.S.
Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative analyst of Best Friends Animal Societysaid she was “saddened that Lennox had to die simply because of breed discrimination.” She added, “We hope his death will not be in vain, but will spur people to judge every dog as an individual not condemn them because of their appearance or breed."
All that remains of Lennox now are his ashes, which the City council promised to return to his owners. It is speculated that Lennox was in such poor condition that the officials were afraid for their own jobs if pictures were leaked or the family was allowed to see the dog.
Lennox’s family released a statement on a Facebook page devoted to the dog: “We have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed, however, that we will receive ‘some’ ashes in the mail.”
Dog lovers around the world know how heartbreaking it is to lose a furry family member. The pain could only be worse when the dog is wrongfully seized, and unfairly persecuted.
The Pit bull breed is one of the most misunderstood. Outlawing Pits does not cure a small portion of bad dog owners that train them to be vicious. David Lanteigne, owner of Lily the hero pit bull who risked her life to save his mother from an oncoming train, is shocked and saddened by news about Lennox’s death. He said, “Breed Specific Legislation not only kills "pit bull" type dogs but it tears families apart. Lennox did nothing but love his family until the day he was seized over two years ago due to his appearance. Having a dog deemed "dangerous" because of how it looks in no way makes communities safer. It fails to look at the individual dog’s behavior and more importantly, its owner’s behavior.”
David added, “I only hope that Lennox's senseless death will strengthen us in our fight against breed specific laws while fighting to improve the dangerous dog law and ensuring that irresponsible owners are held accountable for their actions.” David said Lilly and him will continue to fight so that no other family has to go through what Lennox's family had to endure these past two years.
Suzanne Johnson, Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer and President of StarPup Solutions, Inc., in New York said, “I truly believe that a dog is a reflection of his/her environment. It is unfortunate that governments, insurance companies, and communities still believe that pit bulls are born vicious and pose a danger to society. We must educate the public and keep fighting against Breed Specific Legislation. RIP Lennox, you won't be forgotten!”
My deepest condolences to Lennox’s family. As they stated on his Facebook page, “You will forever be remembered for your bravery, the amazing people you brought together, and 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.”
In honor of Lennox, I pledge to bring home a pit bull the next time I am adopting.
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