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  • Sad day for Lennox

    SaveLennox Supporters

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    Responsible dog owners all over the UK  and indeed the world were devastated yesterday to hear the news that owners of Lennox the dog who has been incarcerated by Belfast City Council for over two years have lost their final chance of an appeal. As a result Lennox will be (if I say it kindly, and I do hope that he is treated with kindness) put to sleep, another way of describing what will happen is that he will be destroyed, a horrible phrase which seeks to dehumanise the act that someone will have to carry out to conform with the ruling of the court. During his time away from his family Lennox has been assessed by renowned dog behaviourists who have stated that he is not a risk, but it seems that the 'system' we have in place does not recognise the evidence of these experts. Instead choosing to believe the words of a police dog handler. As #savelennox supporters of Lennox heard the news break around mid day on the 12th June Twitter and Facebook came alive with messages of support, condolence and outright outrage at the decision of  Lord Justice Girvan that the original judgement should stand and that Lennox should be destroyed. Much of the anger was directed against Belfast City Council who were responsible for taking Lennox from his home in 2010. The council's Facebook account was bombarded with messages of anger, dismay and disbelief making it necessary for them to remove the ability for other users to post in their page at around 8pm on the 12th June. They have so far decided to leave the recommendations free to post on and as I type supporters have continued to post their views on the Council's page, although the Council have removed the ability for all of the 2900 comments supporting Lennox and directly criticising the Council to be easily viewed. My guess is that they will remove the recommendations tab later today. Belfast itself is also being targeted with the initiation of a Boycott Belfast Site which had received over 11,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. Lennox has a massive amount of support from all over the world and the geography of the situation is confusing to many who do not appreciate that Belfast is part of the UK and as such is covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act  ( albeit an amended version of the act ) . Many have called for a boycott of Ireland which ironically does not have any such laws, indeed many people have come forward from Southern Ireland offering shelter to Lennox so that he does not have to be destroyed. Twitter came alive with a Howl for Lennox tweetstorm using the hashtags #savelennox and #lennoxarmy at 9pm UK time on the 12th June with supporters tweeting message of support, dismay and disgust at the decision. News early on the 13th June that Ceasar Milan is trying to help may give some hope, despite the fact that the dog loving community is widely split on his methods, at this stage anything that can give some hope is welcomed. This campaign has gone on for over two years, for two years Lennox has been kept away from his family and if the reports of his condition are  as described by Victoria Stillwell are true then he has not been well cared for by his captors with images of an pre existing skin condition , damage to his neck and a paw injury described on a recent podcast. Little wonder then that unconfirmed reports have emerged that the family are not going to be allowed to say a final goodbye to Lennox, for then they would be able to see the condition of their treasured pet. I simply cannot imagine how they must be feeling, none of us can. They have fought a valiant battle in the face of a seemingly uncaring opponent who are hellbent on imposing a deeply flawed law at the expense of common sense and compassion. As heartbreaking as it will be I do believe that the family should be allowed to be with Lennox one last time, although I do not hold out much hope for the authorities allowing this to happen, I do not believe that they will even release his body, I sincerely hope that I am proved wrong. Whatever happens their commitment to Lennox can never be questioned, they have fought a long emotional battle for one who cannot speak for himself. What I find hard to believe is that the current amendments under the Dangerous Dog Act do not do very much to clarify the situation for another Lennox type case. Despite the fact that the new sentencing proposals which are meant to act as a more consistent guideline to courts in the following situations "The draft guideline covers six dangerous dog offences in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991:
    • owner or person in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control in a public place injuring any person;
    • owner or person in charge allowing a dog to be in a private place where the dog is not permitted to be injuring any person;
    • owner or person in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control in a public place;
    • owner or person in charge allowing a dog to be in a private place where the dog not permitted to be;
    • possession of a prohibited dog (these are the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro); and
    • breeding, selling or exchanging a prohibited dog."

    Their current guidelines do not note any Sentencing Scenario  for the situation which I believe led to the removal of Lennox from his home ~ "possession of a prohibited dog (these are the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro)", as there is no scenario which states what to do in a case like the Lennox's. Some small measure of hope for the future remains within the draft proposals which state the aim of "Giving the police more discretion to take common sense decisions by ending an anomaly requiring dogs be seized and kennelled, at great cost to the taxpayer and distress to the owner and dog involved, while a decision is taken on whether to exempt the dog from being destroyed under the Dangerous Dogs Act" If adopted one would hope that this would mean that dogs who are subject to detainment under the DDA would not necessarily have to go through the two years of hell that Lennox has endured. Consultation on amendments to the DDA ends in 2 days time on the 15th June 2012 so there is a very limited time for those who have been made aware of the issues through the Lennox case to give their input. The situation is made worse by the fact that the laws are varied across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales so we can only hope that a consistent approach is adopted. The case of Lennox highlights in the worst possible way what is wrong with the current laws and their interpretation throughout the whole of the UK.  As the world waits holding out for a last minute reprieve for Lennox one thing is certain...

    Lennox will never be forgotten

    I sincerely hope that he is around to see the day when the laws are changed and enforced in a way that ensure that this can never happen again. Our thoughts are with Lennox an his family.   You can keep up to date with the unfolding events on twitter search for #savelennox and of course on the official SaveLennox site.

  • Save Lennox

    Today we are taking a break from our usual fun activities to share a though for a dog called Lennox, who has been taken away from his family and sentenced to death. Time may be running out for Lennox, you can read all about his story here and please, please take a minute to sign this petition.  We cannot imagine what his family are going through and what Lennox must be going through having been away from his family for so long. He has never hurt anyone and yet he was taken away because of how he looks. Our hearts go out to Lennox's family and we are hoping that the appeal process will allow them to bring their boy home.

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