The plight of Lennox, a pitbull sentenced to death for being a danger to society, has garnered the attention of pet lovers around the world.
The six-year-old dog was brought into the north Belfast home of the Barnes family when he was just a puppy, reports the Belfast Telegraph. The dog is the pet of 12-year-old Brooke, who suffers from chronic asthma.
The story of how Lennox ended up on death row started back on May 19, 2010, when Belfast City Council dog wardens called at the Barnes home for a routine check regarding an expired license. Senior dog warden Alexandra Lightfoot noted that the pitbull was acting aggressively and claimed that the dog was "bounding on all fours" and hit her in the face with his muzzled jaw, sending Lightfoot crashing to the ground. The dog was taken to council kennels.
Caroline Barnes, a former veterinary nurse, set up the website www.savelennox.co.uk, which has attracted attention worldwide.
The Save Lennox Facebook page has 44, 470 supporters, while 106,217 people have signed the Save and Release Lennox petition. Things took a disturbing turn, however, when threatening letters drenched in petrol were delivered to two female dog wardens' homes. Yolanda Elwood has been the victim of abusive emails and has had the windows in her home smashed and her car tires slashed. Her son was also subjected to abuse.
While there is no record that Lennox has ever bitten anyone, pitbull terrier-type dogs are banned under the Dangerous Dogs (NI) Order 1991 and it was decided he should be put down.
On March 29, at a hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court, District Judge Ken Nixon ruled that the dog’s “total unpredictability” made it a danger to the general public under the Dangerous Dogs (NI) Order.
The Barnes family say that Lennox is an American bull cross and is being put to death simply for the way he looks.
"If this was a human we would declare this racism," stated their petition.
"We ask every kind hearted person for your support, don't let them murder him."
Dog warden Alexandra Lightfoot said that from the thousands of dogs she has encountered in her 25-year career as a warden, Lennox was “probably the most unpredictable and aggressive.”
The family launched an appeal but last week at the final day of the appeal case at Belfast County Court District, Judge Henry Rodgers dismissed the appeal.