The case of Lennox, a family-owned dog, has become a global landmark case which will now end in tragedy. The American Bull Dog Labrador cross was seized from its family and will be put down by Belfast City Councilafter a court ruling because he looks like a Pit Bull, dogs which are illegal in Ireland.
On May 19, 2010 Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council Dog Wardens from his loving family home where he lives with his owners and his kennel mates. Since then he has been confined in conditions which are described as inhumane. The judge has also ruled that his family must now pay for his 11 months confinement.
Lennox's family has made it clear that they will appeal the most recent judgment. They have also been outraged by the fact that there has been so much public encouragement behind the ruling. His owners have had no visitation right for the past 11 months. They have not been contacted by the Council apart from two hours after Lennox was seized.
Photographs of Lennox in confinement have recently emerged showing Lennox in a cold concrete kennel which is too small, has no fresh water supply, heating, toys or stimulation for the dog. He is surrounded by feces with only sawdust for bedding.
International animal advocates, local politicians and media have prompted a global campaign for the release of Lennox. So far their petition has hundreds of thousands of signatures. Groups who have lent their support include the ADBA Inc, various Animal Rights groups, Animal Welfare organizations, Veterinarians, Dog Breed and Behaviorist Experts.
The most heart-wrenching plea came from Brooke, the 11-year-old daughter of Lennox's owners, who is registered as disabled. She grew up with Brooke and the pair became inseparable. Due to her condition Brooke is unable to play with other children and so Lennox became her playmate. Since Lennox's imprisonment Brooke has missed school due to ill health caused by stress. Brooke’s specialist Doctor at Belfast Royal Hospital for Sick Children has also expressed growing concern for the child’s separation from her pet.
Before the young dog was seized from his home he had committed no crime and no members of the public had complained about his behavior. On the day he was seized three police officers arrived at the family home unannounced along with the Dog Wardens. The police were sent away and the Wardens sat down with the family, had tea, smoked cigarettes and played with the family's other dogs.
The Wardens then measured Lennox's muzzle and rear legs with a dress-maker's tape measure and decided, without any professional advice, that he was a "Pit Bull Type Breed". They led him from the home to be put to death according to Life with Dogs.
Lennox's family is experienced dog owners fostering dogs from various dog shelters. When Lennox was a puppy they had him neutered, licensed, insured, DNA registered, Pet Safe registered and micro chipped.
Although Belfast City Council claim that Lennox is a Pitt Bull type dog they have issued him with a dog license every year for the past five years.
The Council used the American Dog Breeders Association Incorporated (ADBA) breed standards to identify Lennox as a Pitt Bull. It has now become clear that they were breaking international Berne copyright laws and have never been authorized by the ADBA to use these standards.