It has been two years since a little black dog by the name of Lennox was killed by the Belfast city council (BCC) in Northern Ireland. What was his crime? It was because Lennox’s head measured in size to the city’s ordinance on Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Lennox had been labeled a ‘pit bull’ type breed and sentenced to death.
Belfast had imprisoned Lennox for two years while his family fought for his life through court appeals. It was June 12th, 2012 when the Belfast counsel denied the families last appeal; and on July 11th, 2012, the BCC carried out Lennox’s execution as the world watched… You see, Lennox’s BSL case and execution was the first of-its-kind to go viral on social media, and the first to make national headline news.
Lennox was an ordinary dog that shared a flat with his family. He acted as a therapy dog to a child he had helped raise. He enjoyed doing doggy things with his family, and they enjoyed him. He was a cherished member of the family and that is why it shocked the family when a Dog Warden came to their flat with a tape measure. After the Dog Warden measured Lennox’s head, she labeled him as a ‘pit bull’ type breed and seized Lennox from the only home he had ever known.
Lennox was 5-years-old at the time he was seized. He would then spend the next two years of his life in an undisclosed location that looked like an underground concrete cave. He was poked and prodded several times by the shelter staff in what was called temperament testing. Lennox always passed the temperament tests. Lennox’s fate was sealed when a Dog Warden at the time named (Sandy) Alexandra Lightfoot, testified that Lennox was in fact vicious and unpredictable. Lightfoot was soon promoted after her testimony. When canine behavior experts David Ryans and Victoria Stilwell tested Lennox, they found him to be nonaggressive but under great stress because of his confined quarters. Even under the stressful conditions Lennox was confined too, he refused to become aggressive.
Lennox became a martyr against BSL around the world. BSL judges a dog on its looks and not the personality or behavior of the dog. It is estimated that BSL kills over a million dogs worldwide every year. Lennox’s legacy is still bringing people together to end BSL throughout the world. Belfast may have proven they had the power to end an innocent life, but they failed to remove Lennox from our hearts. Lennox’s message can still be found on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Let’s all end BSL together in the name of Lennox.