You want to know what I am dreaming of? I am dreaming of a day when the human race gets over its God complex and starts treating the animals with whom we share this planet with the dignity and respect they deserve.

My hackles rise when I hear of animal abuse, and I am sick to the pit of my stomach when crimes against our fellow beings go unpunished; the offenders given at most a rap on the knuckles.

I don’t know if any of you have been following the plight of Lennox, the dog in Northern Ireland who was taken away from his family by Belfast City Council two years ago. Lennox was a dog with no history of bad behaviour, who lived peacefully with his family; a family who loved and cared for him. Lennox was the best friend and constant companion of the little girl, Brook Barnes.

lennox barnes

So why was this model canine citizen apprehended and incarcerated? Because it would seem, thanks to the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, Belfast City Council is allowed to capture and destroy any dog that looks dangerous. Yes, you heard me. Looks dangerous. Lennox had the gross misfortune to resemble what they perceived to be a ‘dangerous dog’.

Isn’t that racism? Being cast as guilty because of what you look like? Any dog has the potential to be dangerous – more often than not, because it has been trained to be so (by a  human), abused (by a human), neglected (by a human) or abandoned (by a human). For that matter, any human has the potential to be dangerous. Should we enact a Dangerous Humans Act, so we can profile what facial features should be perceived as dangerous, and then destroy anyone fitting the description?

There’s more. Lennox was kept incarcerated for two years and denied contact with the family he loved. His family at first lobbied for him to be returned to them, and then, because they loved him so much, they lobbied for him to be given his freedom even if it meant sending him out of the country. Dog trainer Victoria Stillwell travelled to Ireland and offered to take Lennox back to the States with her, at her own expense, and assume responsibility for him. Belfast City Council didn’t give her the time of day.

Here is a leaked video of Lennox being assessed for aggression.

The woman in the video is Alexandra Lightfoot, dog warden for Belfast City Council, who gave testimony that Lennox was one of the most aggressive dogs she had encountered. She must have been quaking with fear as she sat there, relaxed, calmly petting him. The man conducting the assessment is David Ryan, who concluded that Lennox was not aggressive. His assessment was ignored by Belfast City Council. Here is a piece written by Victoria Stillwell about Lennox and the assessments.

This week, despite worldwide outrage, Belfast City Council murdered an innocent dog. They wouldn’t allow the family to visit their beloved Lennox to say goodbye, to hold him one last time, to let him know he was loved. They ignored the family’s pleas to have Lennox’s body returned to them, so they could lay him to rest. They wouldn’t even let thirteen-year-old Brook have his collar. Belfast City Council are guilty of gross animal cruelty and gross human cruelty. My heart bleeds for the Barnes family, and for the sweet dog they loved so much.

Rest in peace, sweet prince.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Gandhi

UPDATE: Belfast City Council didn’t even bother informing the family that Lennox had been euthanized. They found out about his death through Victoria Stillwell.


29 thoughts on “Lennox”

      1. the only light from this horrific situation…to me…is the awareness that this sad, pitiful incident is bringing to the ENTIRE WORLD. this little one was truly an angel in this sense, i believe.

  1. I love that you have taken the time to follow and post on something so important to so many people!! I’ll be sharing this everywhere I can and thank you for being a voice for Lennox!! This is an unbelievable story but people need to be aware….

    1. Thanks, Juanita, please do share with as many people as you can – there are many petitions out there, calling for answers and for the BCC to be charged. There is also a petition to enact a Lennox Law, which would put an end to Breed Specific Legislation.

      1. Would I just use google to find the petitions or are they on change.org?? I left a link to this post on my facebook wall with links to news reports but adding the petitions would be wonderful 🙂

  2. Such a great post Ailsa! I heard about Lennox case through another blogger Jo Bryant at Chronicles of Illusions. Yes a sad case indeed! I can’t believe all the crap that goes on in this world! I also have a serious problem with whale hunting. It was hard to stomach the ships when I was in Iceland.

    1. I just went over to Jo’s blog and read her post, we’re of the same mind. I’m with you on the whales, Nicole, and the seals, and the foxes, and so much more. The way we have treated the planet with such disrespect that we have ruined it, not only for ourselves, but for so many other species too. But that’s a whole other blog post. xxx

    1. I know, murphy, that poor dog was ripped from his home, left to languish in squalor and put to death for no reason. I cannot get the image out of my head of him dying, confused, frightened and so utterly alone. It breaks my heart. I’m crying again.

  3. So sad! All he is, is curious, attentive, and desperate for some love and attention. Poor boy. But I hope, that his story will help others eventually. Thanks for this post. Sharing.

  4. Poor dear Lennox..his poor owners. How dare BCC take the word of one obviously mistaken female over the head of professionals and hundreds of concerned citizens of many countries? An animal lover, petting and talking to the most aggressive animal she has ever encountered? How brave of her… When are the next local elections?

    1. I don’t know when the next elections are, but these people need to be voted out of office. They have callously abused their authority, and what’s more, they have ignored their constituents (and the rest of the world) – they are public servants who have betrayed their public.

  5. Common sense has been abandoned. I was so sad about Lennox – so unjust. Thanks for the petition link.
    (We are relieved the German passed her temperament test today – being on the list as an “aggressive breed.” She could have been “evicted”from her home and not allowed to play in some dog park.)
    Insane profiling.

    1. Deed, not breed. You’re so right, phil, racial profiling is wrong; no matter whether you’re dealing with two-legs or four-legs. xxx

  6. My heart goes out to this family for there loss… we as people must come to a realization, that we are all in a state of denial.. animals may not speak our words.. but they feel and give love just like each and every one of us.. if they do become harmful, the only person to blame is the owner.. the injustice here is just sad.

    1. Oh what a sweetie! I am glad there are people out there like you, Sybil, who will do what it takes to keep their animal family members safe. Much love! xxx Ailsa

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