Perhaps you received an email in your inbox today. Or like me received a Facebook post asking for help. The internet has been buzzing regarding Lennox, the Belfast, Northern Ireland, Labrador/American Bulldog mix who has been ordered to be put down simply because he looks like a Pit Bull.
The United Kingdom has had a breed-specific ban on American Staffordshire Terriers, more commonly known as Pit Bulls, since 1991. In May 2010 a dog named Lennox belonging to the Barnes family was seized because his appearance was “Pit-bull like” even though the dog has never been cited as hurting anyone nor did he have any public complaints. The dog had been registered by the city for the past five years and was neutered and insured. Despite being registered, Lennox has been kept in a kennel in an “undisclosed location” for almost two years and the family has not been allowed to see him. This has been especially stressful for the family’s young daughter who is disabled. Because she is unable to play with other children, Lennox was her constant companion and playmate. The family pursued release through the courts, but was continually denied on appeal. Now all appeals have been exhausted and the dog was scheduled to be euthanized this week, possibly today. The International Pet Examiner is still awaiting word of Lennox’s fate.
Professional dog trainer and TV personality Victoria Stilwell has offered to take the dog the United States at her own expense to stop the procedure. She is currently in Belfast providing support to the Barnes family and trying to meet with Belfast officials to plead her case, but so far no one has agreed to meet her or the Barnes family.
In an email statement to MSNBC, Stilwell said,
“Despite my repeated public and private requests for a meeting with the Belfast City Council to discuss positive alternatives to the euthanasia of Lennox, they have inexplicably refused to even discuss these possibilities with me, the family or their legal team. Although I’ve previously given the benefit of the doubt about the BCC’s motives, I now fear that their collective decision-making has been clouded by personal and potentially vindictive reasoning while exhibiting an unreasonable obstinance to even exploring positive solutions. I sincerely hope they relent and accept my offer of an all-expenses paid, face-saving rehoming process for this poor dog,”
Already Tuesday morning in Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph is reporting that Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson has requested the BBC take another look at the case and “seriously look at rehoming option.”
“Why exercise the order if there’s an alternative?” he is quoted as asking.
The Belfast Telegraph is also reporting that they have been inundated by emails and phone calls from Lennox supporters from all over the world. Countries include the US and UK as well as Australia, Sweden, Finland and Belgium. Read the full article here.
During the day today, protesters in the UK and US gathered together to show support for the dog. There are also reports that people from around the world have flown into Belfast to protest the court’s decision. To keep up on the results, visit the Save Lennox Facebook page.
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