Lennox is scheduled to die tomorrow. In fact, he may already be dead, since he’s in Northern Ireland and it’s already tomorrow there. Lennox has been imprisoned for almost two years. Not because he committed a crime. Not because he broke the law. He’s been held because of the way he looks.
Lennox is a dog. And to the officials at the Belfast, Ireland City Council, Lennox looks like a pit bull, which in their eyes makes him a dangerous dog.
Never mind that Lennox is not a pit bull; he’s a 7-year-old American Bull Dog/Labrador mix. Never mind that the now 7-year-old dog has his entire life been licensed by the council as well as neutered and microchipped, up to date on vaccinations, and DNA registered (which confirmed his breed type as American Bull Dog and Labrador).
On the 19th May 2010, Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council Dog Wardens from his loving family - which reportedly includes a severely disabled daughter - after the dog wardens measured Lennox’s muzzle and tail and deemed him a pit bull.
Since that day, Lennox has been living an undisclosed location where conditions have reportedly been inhumane. Not only was he ripped from his home, he’s been kept in what, according to photographs, is a filthy, cramped environment lacking visible means of food, heat, water, and toys or stimulation.
While Lennox’s family has been working all of this time to bring their dog home, they have exhausted all of their legal options and today Lennox was scheduled to be euthanized.
The animal community has gotten involved on an international scale. This past weekend, thousands turned out for protests and demonstrations held around the world, begging the Belfast City Council to return the dog to his family. Offers to take the dog have poured in from all over the world, including from renowned dog trainer Victoria Stillwell and even Kakha Dzagania, a member of the Parliament of the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union. (Read Victoria Stillwell’s letter)
As of 8:23 p.m.Belfast time, (3:23 pm EDT), the North Country Gazette reported that the Lord Mayor of Belfast had sent a tweet suggesting the council rehome the dog.
It’s mind boggling to think that the Belfast City Council would be steadfast in this case. This is not a dog that has bitten someone or been a problem. He simply looks, to them, like a pit bull. Rather than back down, Belfast is now the center of protests; worldwide animal lovers are calling for boycotts of tourism to Northern Ireland. Heads of state internationally have chimed in. No one wins in this case. Not the dog, not the family, not the child and not Belfast.
There’s no word yet on whether Lennox has been granted a reprieve; the prospects are doubtful. His family has reportedly not been allowed to see him to say goodbye. Belfast City Council should be ashamed of themselves – even if Lennox was a pit bull (which he is not) and if he was dangerous (which he was not) to treat the dog and the family so cruelly is
It’s a sad day for dog lovers – and should serve as a dire, desperate warning to those who have been ignoring breed specific legislation in their areas. Yes, this happens in America, too. You saw it happen with Snickers the service dog. It could happen to any of us.
And as you’ve seen here, you do not have to actually own one of those allegedly “dangerous” breeds to be affected.