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12 July 2012
This is the leaked video as viewed on Youtube
The story of the seizure of Lennox, a Belfast dog killed under the United Kingdom’s Dangerous Dog Act, captured emotions across the world.
Lennox was condemned to die because he looked like a “pit bull type” dog, and consequently, the Belfast City Council asserted that he had to be destroyed to protect the public. However, a video which has just surfaced seems to contradict the Belfast City Council’s description of Lennox as “a dangerous dog”.
The dog was removed from his family’s home by Belfast dog wardens who, although Lennox was registered as a “bulldog”, and had no history of aggression or complaints, took the dog anyway. Lennox was subsequently sentenced to die because his appearance met the standard physical measurements which were deemed indicative of “a dangerous dog”, under the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act.
This video, dated March 15, 2011, allegedly shows Lennox being tested for temperament by David Ryan, a dog behavior expert hired by the Barnes family to assess the dog.
His owners, the Barnes family, fought in the courts for two years to save their pet’s life – a battle which they ultimately lost on July 11, 2012, when Lennox was put to sleep by Belfast authorities.
Facing worldwide outrage, the Belfast City Council insisted they had no choice; Lennox was so dangerous, they alleged that, in the interests of public safety, they were forced to euthanize him. In fact, they said, the dog was so vicious that they could not allow him to be re-homed; not even with celebrity dog trainer, Victoria Stilwell.
Now a video has surfaced on Facebook which reportedly shows Lennox, on a leash, being tested for temperament. The leash is held by a woman alleged to be Sandie Lightfoot, the dog warden responsible for the chain of events that led to Lennox’s murder. The man in the video is reportedly David Ryans, a dog behavior expert hired by the family to do an assessment of Lennox without any prejudice. Ryans was one of two dog behavior experts who examined Lennox, and who both testified to the court that the dog showed no sign of aggression.
In the video, the dog is relaxed and friendly. He sits on command, and waits for a treat. Several times, he attempts to lick both people in a visibly friendly and playful manner.
The video is dated March 15, 2011. This is long after both Lightfoot and the Belfast City Council had alleged that Lennox was aggressive towards people. The video shows no signs of aggression. Moreover, Lightfoot, who by this time certainly had interacted with Lennox several times, shows no nervousness at being around the dog, at all.
Many questions have been raised about Lenox’s case. The decision of the Belfast City Council to press forward with his execution, when they had other, viable options available to them, is perplexing. Their resolute decision to turn a deaf ear to the pleas of the world to spare Lennox’s life, and to refuse to allow the family to see their pet – not even once – in the two years they held Lennox has garnered Belfast nothing but bad publicity and ill-will.
This video, which appears to contradict the Council’s rationale for putting an innocent family pet to death, will only add to the growing chorus of voices demanding answers.
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Lennox, killed by Belfast City Council for looking like himself – and nothing else
Lennox, the dog at the centre of an international campaign to stop a Northern Ireland council from putting him to sleep, has been destroyed.
The dog’s heartbroken owner, Caroline Barnes, said her teenage daughter Brooke had been denied the chance to say a final farewell.
“We had told Brooke that even if we don’t win (the case), she can still see Lennox, have her last pictures with him and say goodbye,” said Ms Barnes.
“To then have to tell her that no, that is not happening, it has been extremely unfair.”
The family has been told the dog’s body will not be returned but they will receive his ashes.
Last night Lennox supporters staged a protest in Spain, following similar rallies in New York and Serbia.
Ms Barnes said: “We can draw a bit of comfort from all of the brilliant friends that we have made.”
The family pet was put down this morning after the expiry of a midnight deadline for legal appeals.
Campaigners claim to have 200,000 signatures supporting a reprieve and emotions were running high.
A Belfast City Council spokesman said: “Lennox, an illegal pit-bull terrier type, has been humanely put to sleep. This was in accordance with the Order of the County Court which was affirmed by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.
“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. The Council’s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.
“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.
“The Council regrets that the court action was necessary but would emphasise that the safety of the public remains its key priority.”
Lennox was impounded by Belfast City Council’s dog wardens in 2010.
In June, Northern Ireland’s most senior judges rejected Caroline Barnes’ legal bid to overturn an order for the destruction of her pet.
Ms Barnes, who is disabled, and her family insisted that Lennox was not dangerous, and while it was not clear exactly what breed he was, pit bulls and dogs like them are illegal in Northern Ireland.
Two lower courts had already ruled that the dog should be put down.
The dog was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens in May 2010. He was assessed to be a danger to the public and subsequently ordered to be put down.
A former Metropolitan Police dog handler claimed the dog represented a danger due to his unpredictability.
Ms Barnes, 35, had accepted her pet was a pit-bull type, but claimed there had been a failure to properly consider a possible exemption scheme.
Her battle for Lennox became an international campaign to save his life. It went “viral” on social media websites and attracted tens of thousands of well-wishers.
Well-known people including boxer Lennox Lewis and Assembly First Minister Peter Robinson were among those who used Twitter to call for the dog to be spared.
Please click the red link to the Examiner article for instructions on how to send emails requesting a pardon for Lennox, the Belfast dog condemned to death and due to be executed tomorrow because he ‘looks’ a certain way:
In Northern Ireland, dogs can be sentenced to death after a tape measure ‘proves’ they are a pit bull
Guardian – Comment is free
20 June 2012
‘Lennox was even an unofficial assistance dog for the family’s 11-year-old daughter Brooke, who is registered disabled’
Last week in Belfast, the highest court in the land rejected the final appeal for a pet dog called Lennox to be saved. Only an appeal on a point of law in the next four weeks – or a pardon – can save him now.
If Lennox was a human, Amnesty International would have him as a poster boy. He was an adorable puppy, as you can see from the photos. His owner, Caroline Barnes, a former vet nurse, thought he was probably a mix of American bulldog, labrador and staffie – as a crossbreed, she didn’t know how big he would grow. For his first five years, he was an adored family pet.
Then, one day in May 2010, he was placed on death row. He hasn’t been seen by his owners since. He had done nothing wrong. Under Northern Ireland law, it is illegal to own a dog that looks like a pit bull and they can only be saved from execution if a judge rules they are “satisfied that the dog will not be a danger to the public”. But this exemption is hardly ever used – to date, only one dog that I can find has survived being identified as a “pit bull type” in Northern Ireland.
In England, Scotland and Wales our unpopular and ineffective Dangerous Dogs Act was amended in 1997 to remove the mandatory death sentence for any dogs identified as pit bulls. Northern Ireland’s devolution meant they no longer followed our dog laws, and they had to wait until 2011 and the Dogs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 for well-behaved pit bull types to be given even the slightest chance of avoiding a death sentence.
Lennox in his cell Lennox in his cell
And so it was that a tape measure “proved” Lennox was a pit bull, effectively sentencing him to death. The dog warden measured the length of his legs and the width of his muzzle. These dimensions and ratios could fit many dogs that are definitely not genetically a pit bull. For example, a pit bull is said to have a femur that is shorter than its tibia. The court does not have to prove that the dog is definitely a pit bull, the burden of proof is on the owner to prove that their dog is not.
Lennox in his cell
So was Lennox a danger to the public? He was always walked on a lead. The family’s garden was well fenced, so he never roamed. He had an up-to-date dog licence. He was neutered, insured and microchipped. He was even an unofficial assistance dog for the family’s 11-year-old daughter Brooke, who is registered disabled.
Three quite conflicting witnesses have reported on Lennox’s behaviour, the judge preferring the most negative views. The most positive was dismissed out of hand.
Lennox allegedly jumped up at one of the three dog wardens who took him away from his family. As the dog trainer Victoria Stilwell says: “If all dogs who jump up on strangers in their house were guilty of being dangerous dogs, there would not be many dogs left in homes.” But even the jumped-up jumping up charge is in dispute. I’m told by a family friend that Lennox actually tried to climb onto Caroline’s lap “like a little child” to get away from the dog wardens.
The dog wardens claimed in court that they had been warned by an unnamed man at the house that Lennox could “rip their head off”. That Lennox had lunged at one of them and hit her with his muzzle. The family deny these allegations – it’s a classic “he said, she said”. But before that day in 2010, the record shows that no one had ever complained about Lennox.
When 11-year-old Brooke first heard that her dog had been taken away she had a very serious asthma attack. For the last two years the family – who are new to being on the wrong side of the law – have devoted all their energies into fighting for Lennox’s life. Almost 150,000 people have now signed their petition – almost a quarter of the population of Belfast. Some more radical supporters have gone further, starting a “boycott Belfast” campaign to shame the city into action.
Stilwell is not the only dog expert to back the campaign to free Lennox. Jim Crosby is an ex-cop who has assessed more than 30 dogs that have actually killed people. No one else on earth has as much experience of dangerous dogs as him. He has told the Northern Ireland first minister, Peter Robinson, that he is willing to fly over to Northern Ireland to assess Lennox. He hasn’t yet had a reply, despite Robinson saying how much he disagrees with what is happening to Lennox.
Lennox has lost a lot of fur in the past two years
What does Crosby think about using a tape measure to assess whether a dog is dangerous? “I have seen dangerous dogs that looked like pit bulls, and like huskies, and rottweilers, and chihuahuas, and labradors … and on it goes. [Dangerous dogs] have as many faces as human killers. Yet they all have one thing in common: they have exhibited observed behaviour that shows they present a clear danger, or have behaved in a way that caused serious injury or death.
“I can’t honestly say that I would have given Lennox a clear pass; that I never know until after I work with a dog, one on one. But Lennox would have got a fair evaluation, documenting the behaviour seen and quantified, from square one. The size of his head would not have mattered – it would have been the size of his heart that counted.”
Being in Belfast city council’s “care” may have driven the poor dog mad (he has lost a lot of fur, almost certainly due to stress) in which case it could be seen as a merciful release to see him put to rest. But if there is even a chance that Lennox is still the same good dog that loved his family, that has pined for them these last two years. Surely Crosby should be allowed to apply his years of experience to Lennox’s case?
But the fact is, without an intervention from either the Queen or the secretary of state for Northern Ireland – or a last-minute point of law being found by the overworked legal aid team – Lennox will be killed within a month.
12 June 2012
**NO JUSTICE. NO MERCY. NO BRAINS IN BELFAST.
A Belfast woman has failed in a final attempt to spare the life of her pit bull terrier-type dog.
Northern Ireland’s most senior judges rejected Caroline Barnes’ legal bid to overturn an order for the destruction of her pet, Lennox.
Belfast City Council claim Lennox poses a serious risk to his owners and members of the public.
The dog was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens in May 2010. He was assessed to be a danger to the public and subsequently ordered to be put down
Two lower courts had already ruled that the dog should be put down.
Ms Barnes, 35, had accepted her pet was a pit bull type, but claimed there had been a failure to properly consider a possible exemption scheme.
Her legal team went before the Court of Appeal seeking to compel the County Court judge who confirmed the destruction order to state a case on points of law.
They argued that the animal had never bitten anyone and had behaved impeccably since being impounded. They said the dog has not been given the chance to show it could be safe.
The decision that Lennox should be put down came after amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act were extended to Northern Ireland in 2011.
However on Tuesday, the Appeal Court judges dismissed Ms Barnes’ application.
“The judge had heard evidence on the issues relating to this dog over a protracted two-day hearing, carefully considered the evidence and the issues and he reached conclusions of fact which have not been vitiated by any error of law on his part,” Lord Justice Girvan said.
By John Mulgrew
Saturday, 26 May 2012
Dog lovers around the world are waiting for Northern Ireland’s highest court to decide if the life of a dog should be saved.
The Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and two other High Court judges yesterday heard an appeal case against an earlier court verdict that pitbull-type dog Lennox should be destroyed.
Legal costs in the long-running case are expected to run to tens of thousands of pounds.
Since proceedings began more than 127,000 people worldwide have signed a petition calling for Lennox to be returned to his owners, who have not been given enough chance to show he can be made safe, the court was told.
In the Court of Appeal, lawyers for Belfast woman Caroline Barnes argued that her pet dog has never bitten anyone and has behaved impeccably since being impounded.
Lennox has been held by Belfast City Council at a secret location for two years after being seized from the family home. The case yesterday was brought in front of Northern Ireland’s most senior judges — including the Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan — in a last ditch attempt to save Lennox the dog’s life.
Two lower courts have already ruled that the seven-year-old dog should be destroyed because it poses a danger to the public.
In September it looked set to be put down 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 Northern Ireland.
In a final challenge, lawyers for Lennox’s owner claimed the judge misdirected himself.
Michael Lavery QC — who is representing Caroline Barnes — said Lennox was not given a chance to “prove his worth”.
He told the court that no credit was given for the dog behaving well since being taken into the care of Belfast City Council.
“It comes to this: is it automatic that if a dog is either dangerous per se, or shows some allegedly dangerous characteristics, falling well short of biting, can he never be allowed to prove his worth?” he added. “He (the County Court judge) didn’t give sufficient weight to the question of whether the dog could be made safe or not.”
Mr Lavery also cited one case in which a dog had avoided the death sentence despite having bitten people before.
But according to David Scoffield QC — representing Belfast City Council — all possibilities in the case of Lennox were examined before the decision was taken.
“What else should the judge have considered which he did not consider?” he asked the court.
“He has looked at the issue of muzzling, he has looked at the issue of keeping the dog confined, he has looked at the issue of keeping it on a lead. This challenge is really a challenge to the judge’s conclusion that the imposition of conditions was not sufficient to satisfy him the dog was not a danger.”
Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan said he and Lord Justices Higgins and Girvan would give their decision in the next week.
An astonishing journey ends in Royal Courts of Justice
It was a very strange day in the grand surroundings of the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. Barristers, QCs and Northern Ireland’s most senior judges filling the court, to discuss whether the life of a family pet should be saved.
In the Court of Appeal the fate of seven-year-old Lennox the dog was being decided; the same court which only minutes earlier had heard a murder appeal from Brian Shivers, convicted of killing two young sappers outside Massereene Army Barracks in Antrim three years ago.
Normally reserved for cases involving serious crime, yesterday it was the plight of the dog from Belfast and his owner Caroline Barnes, and the now global support campaign finally reaching what could be the end of the line.
Now, dog lovers across the globe are patiently waiting to hear the outcome of the case — which has garnered an ever increasing number of loyal supporters — and whether the appeal over Lennox’s death sentence will be successful.
After two years and the decisions from two lower courts – the future of the pitbull-type dog finally reached the Court of Appeal.
Walking into the long marble corridor of the Royal Courts of Justice — an icon of Northern Ireland’s judicial system bustling with sharp-suited lawyers and their clients — it seemed such an unlikely place for a hearing about a family pet.
Walking into the court, comprised of the typical television courtroom drama look of aged wood and leather benches — the surroundings seemed completely in contrast with the case being brought before the panel of judges.
On first appearances, given the large number of lawyers, you could have been mistaken the court was dealing with a murder appeal.
But it was all for Lennox.
Moments earlier the same judge — Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan — had dealt with one of the region’s biggest terror cases in recent years.
During the brief proceedings in the hot and musty confines of the court — the panel of senior judges heard evidence on behalf of both Lennox’s owner and Belfast City Council to determine the dog’s fate.
With the sun shining through the tall room’s glass ceiling, you could hear a pin drop before the start of proceedings.
In court, Caroline Barnes — accompanied by her mother — appeared visibly moved while discussions about the fate of her dog were brought before the court — terrified of possibly losing her beloved pet forever.
Outside the court, Ms Barnes said she was still hopeful that her dog would be spared the death sentence.
And the focus continued on Lennox outside the court yesterday with photographers snapping the family and onlookers enjoying the sun gazing on — turning more attention to the life of a pitbulltype dog than a convicted murderer.
Grabbing the interest of animal lovers the world over, more than 127,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the Lennox to be set free.
And those tens of thousands are now waiting with baited breath for the outcome of a case which has stirred up a raft of emotion among dog lovers globally.
Yesterday, the number of his supporters continued to rise as more and more signed the online petition.
Worldwide interest has grown to the extent of a campaign song, penned about the dog’s plight — with his tens of thousand of supporters waiting patiently for a final decision.
The slick Save Lennox website has also been keeping the myriad of supporters updated on the progression of the case so far, along with some 50,000 fans on Facebook.
In the next few days a decision from the court is expected on whether Lennox’s appeal will be successful and whether the lengthy two-year campaign to set the dog free has been worth it.
It’s a case which has surprised many — few expecting a decision to destroy a family pet to go as far as Northern Ireland’s appeal court.
Complex and costly battle over family pet
By Amanda Poole
The story of death-row-dog Lennox began back in May 2010.
Caroline Barnes’ pet dog, deemed to be a banned pitbull-type, was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens and he has remained in their care at a secret location ever since.
Ms Barnes immediately launched in to action and her ‘Save Lennox’ campaign has attracted considerable attention from people across the world.
So far, more than 127,000 individuals have put their signatures to an online petition for the attention of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, demanding seven-year-old Lennox’s release.
And the Save Lennox Twitter account has some 7,000 followers and over 50,000 people have liked its Facebook page.
Last autumn, Judge Derek Rodgers at Belfast County Court said it was the “duty of the court to put public safety above anything else” and dismissed Ms Barnes appeal to spare the dog’s life.
He upheld the original decision that Lennox posed a danger to the public and must be destroyed, but Ms Barnes has continued her fight.
A decision from the Court of Appeal is expected in the next couple of weeks and until then the dog will be kennelled and cared for by the council.
The full cost of the marathon legal battle between Ms Barnes and Belfast City Council will not be known until the court case has concluded, however, it is expected to be in excess of £20,000.
While most of the dog’s supporters are well intentioned animal lovers, some of his fans have overstepped the mark.
The Lennox saga took a sinister turn, when council staff and others experienced intimidation from members of the public.
A council document explains “abuse, harassment and intimidation” was directed towards its staff, including online harassment and physical attacks.
Belfast City Council is reviewing procedures to protect staff from abuse and the Attorney General is investigating the incidents.
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.
Joan K Smith
9 May 2012
**Please visit the clickable links within the article for more information
Those of us living in what we consider free societies often feel secure that if we comply by laws, pay our taxes, and maintain other civic duties we should not live in fear of government officials entering our homes and disrupting our families.
Not so in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a tragic situation that is nothing short of Orwellian has played out for over two years. Lennox, a Labrador/American Bulldog mix, was seized from the Barnes family under the U.K.’s “Dangerous Dogs Act” (DDA) and sentenced to death due simply to his physical measurements. Under the DDA, if a dog’s measurements are in line with their standard for “pit bull types”, the dog can be seized without warrant and sentenced to death (a recent amendment stipulates the that the dog must also be proven dangerous). The DDA assumption that physical traits dictate a dog’s behavioral tendencies is contradicted by well known dog experts and virtually every major veterinary, animal control, and emergency medical associations worldwide – all of whom have spoken out against these laws .
It’s hard to image a more unlikely target for the law than the Barnes family. Lennox is an American Bulldog/Labrador mix who had never been reported for any act of aggression, and in fact had never exhibited a single sign of misbehavior. He is not only a family pet, but has served as a therapy dog and soulmate for a disabled girl, Brook Barnes, who is now 13. Lennox’s family had provided a stable, loving home environment. He had been microchipped, neutered, DNA registered, insured, and even had a valid city-issued dog license. By all accounts, Caroline Barnes, a former veterinary nurse, is a model pet owner.
Yet on May 19, 2010, the City of Belfast saw fit to turn their world upside down, in the most baffling way imaginable: Two dog wardens (who operate under the auspices of Belfast City Council) came knocking at the Barnes door bearing a warrant with an entirely different address; it’s still unclear whether the visit was a simple mistake or prompted by Ms. Barnes’ recently renewing the city dog license. The Barnes related that after smoking cigarettes and pleasantly chatting over tea, they produced a tape with which they measured Lennox; they then announced they were seizing him because, by their assessment of his measurements, he was “of type.*
That was nearly two years ago. Since then, in spite of massive worldwide outcry, including pleas from noted dog behavioral experts and celebrities, a petition that now bears over 127,000 signatures, and a growing“Boycott Belfast” movement, Lennox has been held in a secret location while the family pitches a desperate legal battle for his life.
It’s no exaggeration to say that prosecution case against Lennox has been rife with inconsistencies, errors, and even accusations of perjury. The absurd twists and cast of characters could make this case darkly comic — Samuel Butler or Dickens would have had a romp with it — if it didn’t ultimately hinge on one innocent life, and the suffering of a heartbroken girl.
One would think the case would have been put to bed in September 2011, after two expert animal behaviorists, Sarah Fisher and David Ryan, presented the results of their separate, extensive evaluations of Lennox. Both came to the conclusion that Lennox is friendly and of no danger, and presented these reports to the court.
Inexplicably, the judge dismissed those evaluations, and instead relied on the opinion of one Peter Tallack, a police dog handler and noted supporter of the DDA, whose official role in the case was simply “breed identifier.” In a quirky bit of testimony, a flustered Tallack offered the opinion that Lennox was “waiting to go off,”
Apparently using this as the basis, Judge Rodgers called Lennox “a disaster waiting to happen” in a ruling that upheld Lennox’s death sentence not on the basis of any past or current behavior, but on a projection that he might be aggressive at some point in the future. (Imagine if a human defendant were convicted on these grounds!)
When the defense appealed again in late January of this year, the case was reviewed by the very same Judge Rodgers, who – surprise – chose not to overturn his own ruling.
Outrage sums up the reaction of Victoria Stilwell, celebrity dog trainer and host of the program “It’s Me or the Dog,” with whom I spoke earlier this year. Stilwell has been outspoken in her support for Lennox, devoting a number of articles and a podcast to it, and against breed specific legislation in general (which she sums up as “addressing the wrong end of the leash”). Stilwell has studied the video assessments of Lennox and reviewed Sarah Fisher’s report, and simply can’t believe the judge would have taken the word of Tallack – who is, by his own admission, not a behaviorist – over the the opinions of two highly regarded professionals.
Concurring with Stilwell is Jim Crosby, a dog trainer and expert in canine aggression. By his account, he has personally assessed more dogs involved in fatal attacks than anyone else on the planet. He stresses that breed is most certainly not a factor in determining whether a dog is dangerous or not; it is the individual characteristics of a dog. This is a man who knows aggressive animals, and he cries foul in the Lennox case. “This poor dog didn’t do anything, he was minding his own business, happily at home,” he said in a January conversation. “That’s the baffling thing.”
Also like Stilwell, Crosby questions why the testimony of Tallack, a police dog handler, was given credence by the judge. He says to have someone with Tallack’s highly focused skill set evaluate a family dog like Lennox for aggressive tendencies is “like asking a guy who works on Piper plane to repair the space shuttle.” It’s a very different type of dog in a completely different situation.
Both Stilwell and Crosby continue to speak out passionately about the Lennox case, and Stilwell has especially expressed alarm over evidence that Lennox’s health is deteriorating further, based on photo evidence showing massive hair loss and sores.
A final appeal to high court is set for May 24. If it is ruled that Lennox cannot be returned to his family, the defense is asking at least to allow a friendly party in the Republic of Ireland (where there is no breed specific legislation) to adopt him.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Belfast, a family’s beloved pet – a dog who has never spent so much as a day in a boarding kennel — remains locked in a small dank cell surrounded by sawdust and feces, a victim of misused policy and a few humans who would rather see him put to death than admit a mistake. Now, that’s a crime.
• Save Lennox Campign on Facebook
• Official Save Lennox blog
• Follow Joan K. Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wassilyk
By Amanda Poole
2 April 2012
**This article doesn’t give any links, but if you type ‘Save Lennox campaign’ into Google, you will see a whole lot of links to check out for the various social media websites in case you want to help this poor dog and his family. Here are three I found:
Lennox has been separated from his owner, Caroline Barnes and her family, for 682 days.
As the Belfast family of death row dog Lennox prepare to mark his seventh birthday tomorrow, the next court dates have been set in the marathon legal battle.
So far Lennox, deemed to be a banned pit bull-type, has been separated from his owner, Caroline Barnes and her family, for 682 days.
He was seized by Belfast City Council wardens on May 19, 2010, and in September 2011 Belfast County Court decided the dog was a danger to the public and should be destroyed.
In response, Ms Barnes, a former veterinary nurse, vowed to continue her campaign to ‘Save Lennox’.
The summons to compel the County Court Judge to state a case for the Court Of Appeal was listed in the Civil Callover in Belfast on Friday.
Following this, a spokeswoman for the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland’s office confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph the case involving Ms Barnes and Belfast City Council has been listed before the Court of Appeal for mention on April 20 and for hearing on May 24.
The mention in April will be to ascertain if the parties are ready for the full hearing in May.
An online statement from the Save Lennox campaign said: “Our beloved Lennox will turn seven on April 1.
“Lennox was seized nearly two years ago, shortly after he turned five, and it seems an eternity since he’s been away from us.
“We love you, Lennox, and are still fighting to get you back home.”
It also asks Lennox supporters to send birthday cards to the Lord Mayor of Belfast’s office and to take to social network Twitter on Sunday to post support for the campaign to free him.
The statement continues: “Thank you for supporting us and standing by our side in this seemingly never-ending journey to get our boy home.
“We are very grateful to the Lennox Army around the world.”
Lennox is being kennelled by the city council in the meantime.
Story so far
Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens on May 19, 2010, after he was noted to be acting aggressively. Belfast County Court decided Lennox, deemed to be a banned pit bull-type dog, posed a danger to the public and should be destroyed. Lennox’s owner, Caroline Barnes, is appealing this decision. Ms Barnes’ ‘Save Lennox’ campaign has won the support of 125,000 people.