A Belfast dog warden who was not responsible for the imprisonment of Lennox, a family's pet dog who was thought to be a pit bull, has been spoken about the abuse and intimidation she has suffered.
Yolanda Ellwood said she was "scared and threatened" by the campaign that has been mounted in support of Lennox. The dog is to be put to death because it is was thought to be a pit bull type, which is untrue.
Ellwood had received a petrol-soaked letter, had her car tires slashed and the window of her home smashed in. She also told the Belfast Telegraph that her disabled son was beaten up and left with a black eye by a stranger who supported the free Lennox campaign.
She said "I was not directly associated with Lennox but I was singled out as the target of hatred…There were some horrible remarks made about myself and my colleagues — people said we were ‘evil bitches’, ‘murderers’, ‘Nazis’…There were calls for retaliation against Yolanda Ellwood, saying they were going to start with me. My name was all over the Internet.”
In May 2010 Lennox was picked up by Belfast City authories. They suspected that he was a banned pit bull breed. Lennox is a 5-year-old American bull dog and labrador mix. The dog's owner Caroline Barnes launched a campaign to save the family pet after he was condemned to death. The dog belongs to her 12-year-old disabled daughter.
Over 30,000 people have joined the campaign online and by signing petitions. Some supporters are also launching attacks against the Belfast dog wardens.
Ellwood said "On Monday and Tuesday of this week I was getting upwards of 70 abusive emails a day…I don’t see this stopping until a final decision is made regarding that dog.”
She also said "I don’t believe she’s behind the attacks and I think she would be horrified to be linked to it…I feel sympathy for her — we don’t want to rip a dog away from its owners, because we know how hard that can be.”
Barnes said that she did not condone the use of violence against the wardens.
Some well-known celebrities are also lending their names to the "Save Lennox" campaign. Names such as Alyssa Milano, Kelly Osbourne, Sam Fox, Boy George, Ian Somerhalder from "Lost" and "The Vampire Diaries", Cesar Millan (better known as "The Dog Whisperer"), and Victoria Stillwell (celebrity dog trainer and host of Animal Planet’s "It’s Me or the Dog").
On Twitter Stillwell spoke about how the opposition to the campaign has had her Facebook page blocked and says she will continue to provide information about Lennox's campaign on her blog. Cesar Millan wrote on his website that he does not believe in breed bans and said that Lennox's breed does not have behavioral issues.