After senior judges in Northern Ireland ruled that Lennox, a Labrador/American Bulldog, must be destroyed, the dog has gained a new ally in dog whisperer, Cesar Millan.
Belfast judges handed down the ruling after a two year battle by Lennox's owners to have the dog released back to the family after he was seized by the City of Belfast in May 2010 and ordered to be destroyed for being a "pit-bull type" dog.
Lennox had already received the support of several recognized canine behavioral specialists who testified that he wasn't dangerous. One of these was British dog trainer Victoria Stillwell, star of It's Me or the Dog. Now the canine, who is sentenced to be euthanized under the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA), is garnering further support from the dog whisperer himself, Cesar Millan.
The star of the eight season-long television series The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, Tweeted on June 12:
I know about the Lennox situation. Its a decision I truly don't agree with. My team is working to find a better solution to help #savelennox.
Millan has been working with dangerous dogs and rehabilitating them for years but despite being deemed dangerous by a police dog handler who is a supporter of the DDA, Lennox has never harmed or threatened to harm anybody in the entirety of his seven years. In fact, writes Stillwell in her official report:
Lennox showed a number of deference behaviours including turning his head away, licking his lips, turning his body and walking away, in response to David Ryan’s attempts to frustrate him. This is an impressive trait in any dog and shows a dog using submissive behaviour rather than offensive behaviour to cope in what is a relatively stressful situation.
At one point, photographs leaked from the facility where Lennox is being held, showed the dog licking and interacting with Alexandra Lightfoot. Lightfoot is a dog warden who testified that Lennox had been aggressive since his seizure.
Lennox's owners, the Barnes family, were devastated that the judge upheld the decision of two lower courts to euthanize their pet. Caroline Barnes' legal team appeared before the Court of Appeal earlier this month seeking to compel the County Court judge who confirmed the destruction order to state a case on points of law. The application was dismissed.
After the verdict, the Save Lennox Campaign posted on their Save Lennox Facebook page:
We would like to thank everyone for the countless messages that we have received in the last 24 hours during what is a very difficult time for our family and for the support we have had from so many since Lennox was seized in 2010.
The past two years have been extremely distressing for many reasons and we appreciate that this has been a very emotive case for dog lovers worldwide who have spoken out against the failings of Breed Specific Legislation.
We take some comfort in the knowledge that we are not the only ones to be devastated by the recent ruling. We are in talks with our legal team and will make another statement in due course.
Of two petitions supporting Lennox's bid for freedom, one has garnered over 150,000 signatures, and the other almost 19,000 signatures since it was established less than two weeks ago.
With Lennox running out of time, any solution Millan can offer would be a welcome one. According to the Barnes family, although Lennox has not yet been euthanized, the family's request to see the dog has been denied.