Irish Times
25 May 2012

Lennox, whose fate depends on a court decision in Northern Ireland

A pitbull terrier on death row had not been given enough chance to show it could be made safe, the Court of Appeal in Belfast was told yesterday.

Lawyers for Belfast woman Caroline Barnes argued that her pet, Lennox, had never bitten anyone and had behaved impeccably since being impounded.

Ms Barnes has taken her case before Northern Ireland’s most senior judges in a final bid to spare the animal’s life.

Two lower courts have ruled that the seven-year-old dog should be destroyed because he poses a danger to the public.

Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens in May 2010. A campaign has been waged since to save him, including huge support on an online petition.

The dog looked set to be put down last September when a County Court judge decided there was too great a risk. That decision came after the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997 in England and Wales was extended to the North.

The new legislation has introduced a discretionary element to automatic destruction for pitbull-types, based on whether the animal is deemed a danger to the public.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said judgment would be given shortly.