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Lennox Killed Because of Breed Specific Legislation

By July 12, 2012

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(Corrected to identify Northern Ireland and to clarify the law of Northern Ireland.)

After two years of legal battles, Belfast, NorthernIreland 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.


July 12, 2012 at 8:58 am
(1) adoptpaws4love says:

Thank-you, no dog should be murdered, tortured, siezed as this dog was for the way it looks. No dog should be held without mercy for years being neglected, unsocialized, mis treated, in a damp, moldy looking cell with hair loss from disease or stress, skinny, taken from all he has known his whole life for having rear legs and thick muzzel. prejudice in many forms cross our nation and others from people to dogs and it is all WRONG.

July 12, 2012 at 9:34 am
(2) Ruth Eisenbud says:

In India, Lennox would still be alive, at home surrounded by those he loved and those who loved him:

In India….
It is illegal to kill homeless animals. Citizens may only report what they perceive as a nuisance to the municipal authorities. The municipality is required to maintain an animal pound for animals. Previously, municipalities would kill these animals (mainly dogs) cruelly by electrocution, starvation and burying alive. After 1992, it became illegal for municipalities to kill stray dogs. The High Courts of Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Mumbai and several other states have specifically forbidden the killing of stray dogs and have directed the municipality to introduce a sensible sterilisation programme instead. The Animal Welfare Board of India has established a code of conduct for municipalities. Failure to follow the code can invite contempt of court proceedings.

A street dog in india has a better chance of surviving than a good-natured animal ripped from his loving home by the grand inquisitors in Ireland.

It is high time to re-evaluate the implications of dominion and whether those who understand the tragedy of Lennox should support this cruel tradition.

July 12, 2012 at 10:05 am
(3) antara says:

its so bad to make an animal suffer the way they made this innocent dog suffer, because animals dont have a voice and the people of ireland are really inhuman. if they are so afraid of a dog, its the people of that country who should be captured and locked up in cages.

July 12, 2012 at 10:07 am
(4) Kathleen Bauer says:

The murder of Lennox by the Belfast City Council mirrors that city’s overall intolerance and discrimination . Gratefully there were hundreds of more compasionate Belfast residents who fought for his life
This dog’s death was without justification and an ethical atrocity
The Belfast City Council turned a deaf ear to the pleas of thousands for his re-homing and a chance to live a normal happy life,
instead holding him for two years in confinement. The fact that his family was not allowed to comfort him in his last moments and will only receive ashes instead of his body speaks to the world of corruption. When did Lennox actually die and in what condition.
This poor dog will be the standard for the fight against breed specific discrimination. How unspeakably sad that he had to give his life to enlighten the world.

July 12, 2012 at 11:04 am
(5) Natalie Jarnstedt says:

Unfortunately, Lennox is not the first dog nor the last dog to be executed in such as barbaric way, for no other reason than having been born to resemble a banned “dangerous” breed, a stupid law legislated by stupid humans based on sheer ignorance!
The arrogant lack of compassion displayed by the Belfast City Council and the Lord Mayor based on ignorance reeks of politics and power play.

July 12, 2012 at 11:27 am
(6) Selwyn Marock says:

May all those involved in this Travesty Rot in Hell right up to that Wimp David Cameron,I do beleive in Karma.

July 12, 2012 at 11:49 am
(7) Ruth Eisenbud says:

While it was governtment officials who pulled the switch, it is the judeo.christian doctrine of dominion that is fully responsible and complicit in the death of Lennox. This archaic religious view puts man above the animals and grants him the right to kill them without mercy….Anyone who worked so hard to try and save poor lennox, would do well to sever all ties with judaism and christianity, as these religions are beyond redemption.

Dominion is the force that killed lennox.

Even though 185,000 people from around the world signed letters and sent petitions to plead for Lennox…. the pleas fell on hearts hardened by christian doctrine. Such is the nature of man’s dominion over the animals according to judeo.christian doctrine: the tormentors are protected. The victims are found guilty.

July 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm
(8) Susan says:

This law breaks my heart, what about freedom! I own 2 Pit Bulls…they are great dogs, I don’t think the government has any right what so ever to kill dogs or take them out of a home where there is NO indication of a dog attacking. There is something very much wrong here. It must change! A very upset person, Susan

July 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm
(9) Selwyn Marock says:

The last Decent prime-minister UK had was Margeret Thatcher,since then a bunch of Gin-Swilling incompetents.VOTE THEM OUT.When he was watching Wimbledon eating his Fecking strawberries I was hoping he would choke on them.
The only way these neo-Nazis will take notice is when they lose Votes the decent Human -Beings must stop Voting or this SCUM. (Edited to conform with About.com User Agreement)

July 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm
(10) Lexi says:

Doris, I am a rescuer and receive hundreds of emails of dogs all over needing rescue or being abused and killed as well as other animals such as farm animals who have no protection from the evil of humans. Lennox needs to be our symbol to unite all rescue/advocacy organizations to have a lobby in DC in order to try to have legislation against abuse and cruelty. I voted for Obama but he has been awful for animals. Romney is an asshole and will be worse for animals so we really need to rally round and become united. We need a M. L. King for the animals, someone to round up and demand that animals be protected.

July 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm
(11) Karen Batchelor says:

The people responsible for this murder don’t care about truth, decency or justice. They care about power and money. It is now our job to deprive them of both.

Vote them out.

Don’t forget to take note of those who could have intervened yet did not. Her Majesty might have some explaining to do, for example.

July 13, 2012 at 4:06 am
(12) Ruth Eisenbud says:

“He who harms the creatures
He who causes the creatures to be harmed
He who allows the creatures to be harmed
Brings the animosity of the world towards himself.” Jain sutra

We cannot forget the influence of religion on the terrible cruelty to Lennox and his family….

A response to an article on the inquisition in NI:

“Dear Ruth

Thank you once again for constantly defending those without a voice. Your writing continues to inspire me and I`m sure help many people continue the never ending battle for the non human creatures of this planet against the ignorance of men.

Here in Brazil there have been some advances in animal rights, slowly yes but at least what happened to Lennox in Belfast would never happen here. A dog is not judged by its appearance and no specific breeds are banned.

My family is Irish, from Donegal and I have cousins that breed sheep and have that strange concept of being able to say that they like their animals but go ahead and kill them as they have done since they were kids.

They are all church going Catholics.

Even with all the atrocity against thousands of animals going on everywhere every day the Lennox case has shocked me profoundly and you are right about the hypocrisy of religion relating to animals.”

Best wishes … ”

While the exact manifestation of dominion that befell Lennox could not occur in Brazil, there are many others, all equally cruel, that are rooted in dominion.

In addition to signing petitions of protest, boycotting the olympics and broadcasting the tragedy of a harmless life brutally cut short, we must not forget the reason that this was possible. (Edited to conform with About.com User Agreement)

July 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm
(13) MDLee says:

Belfast is in NORTHERN Ireland – a different country than Ireland. I do not believe Ireland has the same BSL as NORTHERN Ireland (which is part of UK, Ireland is not). Just setting the record straight… And what does being Catholic have to do with anything?

July 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm
(14) M says:

In actual fact a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is NOT a pit bull. It is also not a banned breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. As a staffie owner I get pretty annoyed when people say it is a type of Pit Bull which is a specific breed in and of itself.

I completely agree with the sentiments of the article but please, get your facts right.

July 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm
(15) Pitbull mom says:

The bcc is beyond corrupt. Light foot committed purjery and she just gave herself a raise. She killed an innocent dog and paid herself for it despicable! I will boycott all things uk

July 19, 2012 at 2:27 am
(16) animalrights says:

Thank you, everyone, for your comments! Being an American, I’m especially thankful for the information about Northern Ireland and have made corrections.

January 8, 2013 at 9:53 am
(17) Simona Cutmorazova says:

To Ruth Eisenbud,

I find it hilarious that you cite India as a positive role model, when up to 20,000 people die annually of rabies annually there due to the prevalence of stray dogs. Tens of thousands of people are bitten, attacked and killed by stray dogs in India, including many young children who are attacked by packs of feral dogs. Yeah, great example of a country to follow. It’s also a country with more poor people than anywhere else on earth.

April 9, 2013 at 1:02 am
(18) Ruth Singer says:

Ruth Eisenbud,
As a Messianic Jew (a Jew who believes in Yeshua/Jesus), of course I agree with the Judeo-Christian doctrine of dominion. Man was made in God’s image; animals were not. Man does indeed have dominion over the animals, who are for our benefit (companions, workers, and yes even food). BUT, having said that, there is NEVER an excuse for cruelty to any living being. Dominion implies responsible use, not torture. What happened to Lennox (not to say his family) is unforgivable.

July 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm
(19) Michelle says:

I agree with Shorty (Main person in the T.V. show Pit Boss), the law/legislation is a BS. I heard of how Denver, Colorado took away a pit bull from a veteran who had Post Tramatic Stress Disorder from a war. His pit bull was a service dog and had all the right training and classes or whatever else would be needed in order for it to be officially a service dog. These breed specific law/legislation and whoever enacts the law/legislation never seem to realize what happens when the pit bull attacks go down and another breed attack goes up, are they just going to decide that breed is banned as well. As this goes on some countries or counties may end up with no dogs in the area and all of this is because society wants to protect people. I thought society learned its lesson and got rid of segregation, but here I see it again. My question is when will society learn and change their thoughts and behaviors. To me I see some people as a threat more. The way I see it people cause the death of people not dogs, breeds, or any other object or animal.

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