Lennox, the nonviolent dog in Northern Ireland who committed the crime of looking like a Pit Bull, might be put to sleep in the coming hours, despite the efforts of an international campaign to spare the dog. Tonight (Tuesday) at midnight — about 4 p.m. Pacific and 7 p.m. Eastern in the U.S. — is the deadline for legal appeals.
Members of Lennox’s family have made their peace. It’s a ridiculous, heartbreaking situation, made all the more insane by the ineptitude of the Belfast City Council. In Northern Ireland, being a Pit Bull is death sentence, according to its Dangerous Dogs Act. But Lennox is actually an American Bulldog and Labrador cross, not a Pit Bull. The dog has even been DNA registered, and “DNA registry evinced no trace of Pit Bull in Lennox’s ancestry,” as Dogster reported last month. (“Will Lennox the Dog Be Just Another BSL Statistic?“)
But don’t tell that to the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens. They believe Lennox is a Pit Bull-type dog because they measured him with measuring tape, and the measurements of Lennox correspond with the measurement of a Pit Bull.
A measuring tape — Belfast City Council Dog Wardens, on the cutting edge of Victorian-era dog research.
The battle to save Lennox has become an international campaign since the dog was seized in 2010, picking up steam considerably in the past few weeks, with protests in New York and Ireland. On July 9, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson joined the fray, as reported by the BBC. He called for the animal to be spared, via Twitter.
“Spoke to Lord Mayor about Lennox,” the first minister tweeted. “Suggested BCC should seriously look at re-homing option. Why exercise the Order if there’s an alternative?”
Junior Minister Jonathan Bell jumped in after, tweeting, “Have to say I agree with First Minister re-homing Lennox outside the jurisdiction is best. Why would courts or BCC not be content?”
The Belfast City Council released a statement Tuesday, stating that it remains convinced the dog is dangerous, despite Lennox never having bitten or harmed anyone in any way.
“The council acknowledges the goodwill on the part of a significant number of people who would wish to have the dog Lennox spared from being humanely put to sleep,” says the statement, reported by the BBC. “The council has a duty which it performs reluctantly in order to ensure public safety. Re-homing will not deal with the issues in this case — the dog has been found to be unpredictable and dangerous by experts. That view is shared by the courts and the dog is now the subject of an order by the courts.”
Yesterday, Lennox’s human family posted this message on the Save Lennox Campaign on Facebook.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast City Council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive “some” ashes in the mail.
We wish we could report that there’s still something someone can do, but it appears that time has run out. We’re bracing ourselves for the heartbreaking, terrible end to this story that the Belfast City Council seems intent on, and we send our thoughts out to Lennox in his final moments. Please take a moment to do the same.