Following Belfast City Council’s actions, putting down the celebrity dog Lennox, there has been an outpour of public grief with one animal rights group calling for a tourism boycott of Belfast, while another group is calling for a boycott of London’s 2012 Olympics.
Despite protests voiced by First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson, Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, and British TV host Victoria Stillwell, nothing could reverse the court’s decisions. After a two year long battle, including the Barnes family’s own protests and the international 200,000-strong “Save Lennox” campaign, the seven-year-old American Bull Dog/Lab-mix was put to death on Wednesday morning.
Two years ago Lennox was removed from his family home by Belfast city dog wardens. He was deemed to be a dangerous dog at the time. They believed him to be a pit bull, a dog type which is illegal in Northern Ireland.
No Kill New York (NKNY) were one of the many groups to protest the decision to put down the pit bull look-a-like dog.
Founder of the group, Camille Hankins spoke to New York local radio 1010 WINS about Lennox’s death and the anger that members of her group were feeling. She also said plans were underway to begin a boycott the Olympics campaign.
She believes this is necessary because “Great Britain did nothing to intercede…People are angry. People are angry.”
The group had planned to hold their second protest in New York in front of the British consulate this Friday.
She said, “There was no reason for what they did," Hankins added. “What they did was callous, it was barbaric and it is a stain on Belfast. This is going to be something that is going to be hard for them to live down.”
Similarly, in the Republic of Ireland, the group Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) are launching a “boycott of the City” of Belfast.
In a statement released by the group they called on “people across Southern Ireland and across Europe to avoid traveling to Belfast, and to boycott the City”.
They also said they are coordinating with groups in the US to ensure “that their supporters of Lennox, of which there is tens of thousands, either cancel their trips to Belfast, or indeed avoid going there altogether.”
Their aim is to show how flawed Northern Ireland’s “Dangerous Dog Act” is and to demonstrate just how concerned the international community is about the plight of dogs such as Lennox.
John Carmody, director of ARAN, said, “People are today heartbroken, shedding tears and crying out loud with the news that Belfast City Council has murdered Lennox…We're calling on our supporters across the Island of Ireland, Europe and the USA to boycott Belfast and to go elsewhere."
On Wednesday, Lennox’s owners, the Barnes family, released this statement:
“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.”
Belfast City Council (BCC) posted a statement on their site. It reads, “Belfast City Council confirmed today that the dog Lennox, an illegal pit-bull terrier type, has been humanely put to sleep…The Council regrets that the court action was necessary but would emphasize that the safety of the public remains its key priority.”
Despite the two year campaign to have the American Bull Dog/Lab-mix released and returned to his family and the 200,000 strong petition launched by “Save Lennox”, the city council stuck to their decision and killed the dog, however, the campaign doesn’t seem ready to let this rest.
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned