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article imageOp-Ed: Justice for Lennox — Breedism at appalling extent in Britain

By Ernest Dempsey     Jan 22, 2012 in World
Belfast - The death sentence of the dog Lennox in Belfast, Northern Ireland, over mere physical resemblance with pit bulls has taken the breedist hysteria to appalling heights.
It seems things only get worse when you are just hoping the madness will be over. Hardly have dog lovers heaved a sigh of relief with Snoopy’s release in America when a shocking case of breedist dog law has resurfaced in British media. The victim there is a dog named Lennox, now 6 years old, according to the website started in his support. Since May 2010, Lennox has been in official custody and held captive in a place where he is not allowed to be visited by his owner family. Lennox’s crime? It happens that he bears resemblance to pit bulls, though his website tells he is American Bulldog-Labrador cross.
But the Belfast City Council has the “whim” without any professional opinion or objective proof that Lennox is a pit bull and hence dangerous for people, despite having no history of aggression. As his website tells, the same authorities issued his owner family the license to raise him as a pet and his existence is legal and has been peaceful. Yet, he is to be euthanized by court orders, issued in March 2011, for the reason that the concerned judge thought he looked dangerous and is a dog with teeth that can bite anyone.
It is hard to find the right words to criticize this kind of judgment; perhaps we may say that at least this segment of authorities deciding on Lennox’s case has still not emerged from the medieval air of hysterical judgments and labeling. But we do know that the poor dog’s looks are costing him his life. He has been in captivity and emotional suffering for over 600 days now. His owner family has appealed the court’s decision twice, pointing to the legal errors in their prosecution, but it is falling on deaf ears. According to the latest news, Lennox’s case’s next hearing is on January 26, the day when his death sentence will be upheld or, in case of a miracle, cancelled. The owners will then be required to file an appeal within two weeks of the deadline (reportedly January 26, but date not verified).
The online petition started in support of Lennox has received over a hundred thousand signatures to date. But this time, we are not talking about America. It’s Northern Ireland where the City Council wardens measure a dog’s body with a dressmaker’s tape to decide whether or not he is a pit bull, and a bite history is not required to sentence the dog to death. Just a dog’s looks can end his life, as is the case with Lennox. This kind of breedism has taken its toll on the affected family which has done all it could to save their canine family member from unjustifiable killing by the authorities.
The Save Lennox website asks its readers to write to the listed authorities and ask them to spare Lennox’s life. Lennox is innocent and clean, and the concerned judge needs to realize that a dog’s life is not a waster. Dogs have emotions and are socially bonded like children or family members to people. Also, any judgment speaks for the overall character of the judicial system in a state and upholding Lennox’s death penalty will undoubtedly stain the British judicial system with the “breedist” mark.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Lennox, breedism in UK, British breedism, UK pit bull law, Belfast City Council
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