On July 11, Belfast City Council (BCC) announced that it had euthanized Lennox the dog under the Dangerous Dogs Act, but according to an informant, the dog died in his kennel months before his execution date.
A few days ago, Dr. Leigh Foster, the creator and host of the radio-based 'Pawz Cauze Show' announced that she had been given information by an unidentified informant that Lennox the dog died months before he was due to be executed by Northern Ireland's Belfast City Council.
Foster said she was contacted by an anonymous person shortly after ending her show on July 11, the day Lennox was allegedly put to sleep. The informant she said, told her that employees at the shelter where Lennox was secured, "went into his kennel one morning to give him his medication for kennel stress, food, and water," and found Lennox dead.
In a panic said the informant, the shelter contacted BCC for further instruction and was told to "have the body cremated immediately and to destroy the collar, clean the kennel and remove all evidence that Lennox was even there," Foster said. The informant even went as far to suggest that this was shared by BCC with the judge in the Lennox case, who upheld the ruling of two lower courts ordering Lennox's death.
A transcript of Foster's allegations between the doctor and her informant was posted by June Maxim of the North Country Gazette. A copy of the article is also posted here, and on July 18, the North Country Gazette followed up with an announcement that the informant may have been identified.
Foster writes that if the allegations are in fact true, then it would explain a great deal about how and why BCC handled the case as they did. It would also explain why the Barnes family were not allowed to see Lennox she said, why the dog's collar was not returned to the family, and more importantly, why despite repeated pleas for amnesty, even from Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson, BCC refused to back down.
In a post on Facebook just a couple of hours ago, Victoria Stilwell, the star of the popular It's Me or the Dog show, posted this statement:
The family have told me that Belfast City Council will still not answer the family's calls and have consistently ignored their request to have Lennox's collar returned to them, nor have they returned 'Lennox's ashes.'
There are many rumors circulating that Lennox died in a certain kennel location months before the BCC announced that he was euthanised and that the kennel panicked and were told by the BCC to get rid of everything Lennox related.
These are still just rumors and should not be taken for hard fact until the truth is revealed. The family are 'heartbroken'.
Stilwell had campaigned on Lennox's behalf and had offered to re-home the dog (all expenses paid), in the US.
Certainly photographic evidence appeared to show that Lennox was not in the best of health during his stay at the kennel. Images leaked to the family at one point, showed that the canine was missing huge patches of fur, often indicative of kennel stress.
Save Lennox Campaign
This image leaked to the Barnes family shows Lennox missing large patches of fur, possibly from kennel stress.
For more than two years, the Barnes family who owned Lennox, pursued all legal avenues to bring their dog home after he was seized by the BCC in May 2010. But by mid-June, a final court ruling upheld the decision of two lower courts who ordered Lennox to be destroyed under the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA).
More than 200,000 people had signed a petition asking the BCC to spare Lennox and even Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson, asked Belfast's Lord Mayor about Lennox's case and suggested BCC should seriously look at the re-homing option, considering the dog had no violent history.
Recently, Digital Journal received a tip that Alexandra Lightfoot, the dog warden who testified under oath that Lennox was "one of the most aggressive dogs" she had dealt with, had received a promotion. Lightfoot's testimony appeared to jibe with video evidence of the dog's assessment, which showed the warden holding and petting Lennox.
Meanwhile, many people around the world continue to mourn Lennox's death and question the law surrounding Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL). Steve Dale, the author of the syndicated "My Pet World" column at the Chicago Tribune, often answers the publics' questions on animal issues. When asked about the Lennox case, Dale responded:
This may sound melodramatic, but I cried when I read your note. Lennox, a mixed-breed dog, was confiscated about two years ago because officials thought he looked like a Pit Bull, a breed banned in Northern Ireland. In truth, Lennox wasn't a purebred Pit Bull, and the pet had done nothing wrong.
Sadly, Lennox's owners just lost their long battle, and their beloved family pet was euthanized July 11. A colleague wrote on my Facebook fan page: "Well, that's Ireland for you." I wrote back, "That's Ireland, and several other nations, including the U.S. Countless dogs have been killed here in communities with Pit Bull bans because of what dogs are alleged to be.
Dale is no lightweight. He received the Dog Writers Association of America's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award for exemplary conduct, public communication, professional excellence, promoting excellent in the sport of dogs and extraordinary achievement in 2003. In 2002, he also won the American Veterinary Medical Association's prestigious Humane Award, the only AVMA award presented to a non-veterinarian.
As for the AVMA, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), published a study into BSL conducted by individual investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Humane Society of the United States. The AMVA concluded that fatal attacks represent "a small proportion of dog bite injuries to humans and, therefore, should not be the primary factor driving public policy concerning dangerous dogs."
More importantly however, said the report:
In contrast to what has been reported in the news media, the data contained within this report CANNOT be used to infer any breed-specific risk for dog bite fatalities (e.g., neither pit bull-type dogs nor Rottweilers can be said to be more “dangerous” than any other breed based on the contents of this report).
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