(Corrected to identify Northern Ireland and to clarify the law of Northern Ireland.)
After two years of legal battles, Belfast, Northern Ireland has killed Lennox, an innocent dog, based solely on his resemblance to a pit bull.
According to a video from savelennox.co.uk:
On the 19th May 2010 Belfast City Council Dog Wardens Department forcibly removed Lennox from his loving, caring family home after measuring his rear legs and muzzle with a dress maker's tape measure (and) deemed him to be of a "Pit Bull Type" breed...Lennox's owner has done everything required by law as a responsible dog owner. As a puppy, Lennox's family had him insured, micro chipped, licensed, DNA registered, Pet Safe reigstered and neutered. When taken out in public Lennox is always muzzled and kept on a short lead...Lennox is securely kept at his family home behind a 6 foot wrought iron security gate with surrounding 8 foot concrete walls.
Lennox had never bitten or attacked anyone. He was killed because of the length of his rear legs and muzzle. Lennox's family said that he was an American bulldog-Labrador cross, but whether he actually was a pit bull doesn't matter. Killing an innocent animal because of his breed or his appearance is wrong.
In the U.K., a "pit bull" is the American Pit Bull Terrier. In the United States, the term "pit bull" actually includes three different breeds - the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Over the past two years, support for Lennox poured in from all over the world. Victoria Stilwell, host of the TV show, "It's Me or the Dog," had the Barnes family's consent to bring Lennox to the United States to a new home. Peter Robinson, First Minister of Northern Ireland, urged the Lord Mayor of Belfast to consider allowing Lennox to be rehomed, to no avail. Hollywood actors Sophia Bush and Ian Somerhalder also urged the Belfast City Council to spare the dog.
The BCC has acted reprehensibly throughout the two years right up to the bitter end, refusing to allow the Barnes family to see Lennox and now refusing to give Lennox's body or collar back to the family.
In an outrageous statement to the press, the BCC's spokesperson explained, "It would be reckless and irresponsible in this particular case for the council to simply move the dog to some other place where it would pose the same danger to others." The same danger to others - practically none at all?
Northern Ireland's Dangerous Dogs Order, under which Lennox was seized and killed, is just one example of breed specific legislation. Sadly, while Lennox's death sparked an unprecedented worldwide outcry against BSL, it is not an isolated injustice. Countless dogs have been killed or abandoned because of BSL. The time to object to BSL is not just when an innocent dog is killed, but from day one, when a bill is introduced, when an ordinance has its first reading, or when a homeowner's association first puts it on their meeting agenda. After the law is in place, it's much more difficult to save innocent dogs.