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Why Who We Aim Our Anger Over Lennox's Murder Matters

We all know the story of the unjust killing of Lennox the Dog in Belfast, Ireland. If you are unfamiliar with Lennox and the Barnes Family’s two year struggle to save him, you can read about it here.

There is one thing I’d like to address right now. A lot of Dog Files Friends from Ireland have been getting beaten up on Facebook over the Lennox Killing. They are hurt and scared and want what we all want, which is an end to BSL in the UK.

So let’s start by breaking down Ireland, which is actually two regions. One is the Republic Of Ireland, this is the largest section. They have nothing to do with the Lennox story. They don’t have BSL laws.

The other section is Northern Ireland. Belfast is it’s capitol and Northern Ireland, not the Republic of Ireland, is part of the United Kingdom, along with Scotland, Wales and England.

The UK has Breed Specific Legislation laws. Four breeds are currently subject to BSL under the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA):

The Pit Bull Terrier
The Japanese Tosa
The Dogo Argentino
Fila Braziliero

Now it’s also important to remember that any dog that the ‘powers that be’ think looks like one of these four breeds can be subject under this law also. A suspected dog only has to conform to 60% of Pitbull dimensions to be considered a pitbull type. The burden of proof is on the defendant to prove the dog isn’t type or dangerous. And that is what happened to Lennox.

Lennox was killed in Belfast, Northern Ireland by the Belfast City Council and the Belfast City Council are the ones to blame in all of this. Not the innocent folks of the Republic of Ireland or of Northern Ireland.

Because of the corruption, pettiness and egos of the Belfast City Council, Lennox is dead and a little girl is without her beloved service dog.

So I ask you from the bottom of my heart, to be kind to our Irish friends. They are just as angry about what happened to Lennox as we are. I’ve talked to some, both in RI and NI and they are hurting over this just like we are and the attacks on Facebook are really bringing them down and making them worry that we feel they are the enemy. Besides, the Barnes Family have always asked their supporters to be polite and they would be upset that people are engaging in such behaviour in Lennox’s name.

And the Irish people are not to blame. In fact, they are on the frontline to getting changes made in the UK. We need each other and to be frank, change comes from within and there is only so much I can do living in New Jersey. There is only so much any of us can do from outside the UK can do.

Who should we blame? Of course, the Belfast City Council. And the dog wardens that lied to them. You can aim your issues at them. On Facebook they will see any post that has @belfastcc in it and same on Twitter. But other than making us feel better, will it do anything to help the next “Lennox”? I kind of doubt it.

So what can we do? How can we turn our anger into positive change to protect future pups with the misfortune to just being born looking like a pit bull?

1. One way we can help is by asking an investigation television program called ‘Dispatches’ shown on Channel 4 in the UK to investigate the Lennox case. You can sign a petition asking them to do this right here.

2. If you are in the UK, write your Members of Parliament and tell them you are outraged at the atrocities that the Belfast City Council has perpetrated on Lennox and the Barnes Family. Tell them that you want the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) repealed and that Breed Specific Legislation doesn’t work.

The following are three reasons it doesn’t work. Please put these in your own words when you write them:

a. BSL is prejudiced in nature. It punishes dogs and owners who have done nothing wrong. It is discriminatory against people who choose to
own a particular breed of dog.

b. All dogs bite and can inflict harm. There is no scientific proof that shows that one breed of dog bites more or causes more injury than any other breed. There have been cases of tiny dogs under 20 pounds, killing or seriously injuring children.

c. If Pit Bulls and similar breeds are outlawed or severely restricted, it will just force criminals and irresponsible owners to simply ignore laws or they will turn to other breeds to suit their purposes.

Tell them that you are not against laws that deal with ALL dogs, just laws that deal with specific breeds.

Here’s a link to all 650 UK Members of Parliament where you can get details about how to contact them.

And of course, when writing them be pithy and polite. Letters filled with anger will just get thrown out. Be nice, smart, concerned and outraged. Passion, not anger.

And for here is someone for everyone, including us foreigners, to write:

Michelle O’Neill is the Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development. She is able to submit a motion in the NI Assembly to repeal the BSL laws in Northern Ireland. Write her just like the MP’s above. Be polite and firm. We have the truth on our side, and don’t have to be a bully to defeat a bully.

You can contact her here:

Regular Mail:
Michelle O’Neill
DARD Private Office
Room 438
Dundonald House
Ballymiscaw
Belfast
BT4 3SB

Phone Number of Minister’s office on 028 9052 4739

Email:
[email protected]

So that is just two ways I think we can do some good in Lennox’s name. I hope our dog loving friends in the UK will send me a list of MP’s to write and I’ll post it here, so that others outside the United Kingdom can also write them.

And please remember to befriend our dog loving buddies in the UK. We need the people from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on our side. In fact, they are the ones that have to do the hard work and we need to be there for them every step of the way.

Do you have some ideas of how to combat BSL in the United Kingdom? We’d love to hear them, so please leave a comment below.

Thanks!
Kenn Bell
Dog Files Creator

Rest in Peace, Lennox. We will do great things in your name!

Lennox during happier times.
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Pam
Pam
8 years ago

I sent a letter to the council telling them of my shock of killing this dog.  What bothered me the most is they would not let them move the dog to a place that accepted them.  I love the people there, and just like anyother place there are good and bad people.  I hope the laws can change, so no other family or animal has to go through this.

Jim Crodby
Jim Crodby
8 years ago
Reply to  Pam

The answer to BSL is fair, quantifiable, specific behavior based Dangerous Dog Laws that are allied across the board to all dogs-and owners, as they should place responsibility where it belongs: on the human.

Jim Crosby
Jim Crosby
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Crodby

Sorry…Jim Crosby. Clumsy fingers.

CeliaSueHecht writer
8 years ago

Kenn Bell, thank you, excellent. I would add that people need to contact the Prime Minister on twitter  @number10gov and ask him to investigate the BCC re: Lennox… the more people the better that call for an investigation… and some in the UK can also fill out a Freedom of Info request to find out info about Lennox… what happened to him and when????  a lot of unanswered questions. 

Jessie B Tyson
8 years ago

Anyone can request a freedom of info from the UK. I Googled it. I’m a Brit living in Canada and wondered if I could ask while living over here, and that’s when I saw my answer. Anyone can ask. 🙂

Kaly
Kaly
8 years ago

Thank you, Kenn.  Your article will be share and will be contributing to making a difference.

Michael Haslam
8 years ago

A good tip when writing to an MP is to ask him a specific question that would require a personal answer, they have to reply to questions but only note opinions. They aren’t masters of detail but can soak up masses of information when needed.   

My2girls JS
My2girls JS
8 years ago

Thank you for such a thoughtful article. Dispatches howe the ver seems to be dismissing thje pleas of so many people including the good people of Belfast. Frankly, I feel let down because bringing these abuse purpetrators to justice could have served as a message to others across the globe that the world is watching and will act. Unfortunately, the opposite is now taking place being that there has been no mdia coverage since mid July.

Jan Price
8 years ago

I submitted a Freedom of Information form into @BelfastCC, had confirmation I would receive my answers no later than Aug 23rd, not had anything! Have e mailed Michelle o’Neill countless times, before and after Lennox was killed, never had a reply. Have e mailed & Tweeted all MP’s in N.Ireland, never had one reply. I have never been rude, confrontational, only mannerly, but no replies whatsoever. This is what we are up against with @BelfastCC! Lennox name will live on as we fight BSL alongside our Irish friends, justice needs to be done and an independent investigation into @BelfastCC needs to be carried out urgently before we have another Lennox case.

Lily Hooper
Lily Hooper
8 years ago

u r so right pam, let someone else have the dog , so many wanted him , even the dog whisperer….makes the BSL look awfully blood thirsty. If they want blood shed and they are so full of aggression let them go fight over in afghanistan

joachim erk
joachim erk
8 years ago

i´m from germany and i have wrote a “open letter” to the bcc. here it is. maybe you want to read it too:

Open Letter to:

The Belfast City
Council

Dog wardener(s)
of Belfast

All Newspapers
in Northern Ireland

TV- and
Radiostations in Northern Ireland

All Dogfriends
all over the world

Ladies and
gentlemen,

with horror and
disgust I’ve read how the Belfast City Council took the dog “Lennox”
from his family, incarcerated, battered and emaciated him for 2 years
until he finally died of his serious injuries. In our day and age,
after all the tragedies of the past 70 years in Europe, I thought
that all countries would have learned something from German
history.

A creature that has emotions and is so
dependent on us humans, should be treated with dignity, decency and
respect. Dogs are taken away from their families and simply killed
because they belong to a particular breed in your country.

Having
a law in place such as the BSL, you have to make sure to hire
responsible persons making these questionable decisions, but most of
all it should be essential that these animals are treated humanely.
What the BCC, the animal shelter and particularly Mrs Lightfoot did
to the dog Lennox was criminal and against the welfare of animals.

Lennox
locked in his inhumane Belfast Council Contracted Kennel surrounded
with sawdust for bedding & his own faeces

The dog Lennox was never noticed as aggressive. The decision
to separate him from his family, place him in a hole with no
affection, no outdoor walks, no adequate and proper food and on top
of this mistreat him mentally and physically is an act of barbarism
and the parties responsible should be punished by law.

There
are several images showing how Lennox looked before he was
confiscated and how his condition was shortly before his death.
Anyone who has ever seen these pictures will ask themself what kind
of people are working for the BCC and the morality which prevails
there. If you imprison a creature you take over the responsibility
for their well-being. The BCC seems to be unaware of their
responsibility and the people responsible should be treated as a
criminal. Most of all they must be relieved of their office position
and their duties IMMEDIATELY and brought to justice. In addition, the
responsible people should publicly apologize for actions and pain and
the suffering they have caused the family of Lennox and Lennox
himself. This should be the least you can do.

In your
report, Dog Warden Mrs. Lightfoot has testified under oath that
Lennox was one of the most dangerous dogs she has ever met. She said
she was has been afraid while she had contact with Lennox. There
remains only the question of how this statement fits to the images
and videos where you can see Mrs.Lightfoot with Lennox where he licks
her face and was petted over several minutes by her. Thus, Mrs.
Lightfoot has shown that she intentionally lied under oath and seems
sure of herself that there will be no consequences for her actions.
To equip such a person with the authority to make decisions between
life and death of animals is negligent if not criminal.

After
Lennox finally escaped this misery by death, the final report stated
that the dog was in a good physical condition. Unfortunately, I have
not seen him personally, but the pictures that show him shortly
before his death ensure that this also is a blatant lie. His family
was not allowed to see him during his captivity, and after his death
neither the body or his collar was returned to his owners, which is
significant and shows that the responsible parties wanted to cover up
their cruel actions towards Lennox after his death had attracted a
lot of attention on the Internet and caused an outrage that was
followed by a petition that is being signed by thousands of people
holding the BCC, Mrs. Lightfoot and the animal shelter
responsible.

In the name of humanity I kindly ask that you
immediately conduct an investigation to see how many of the currently
seized dogs must go through a similar ordeal and to make sure that
the dogs that are incarcerated due to your senseless BSL law, get at
least placed in a decent environment. If the safe welfare of the dogs
can’t be ensured, then the dogs must remain with their families with
strict conditions if you may, such as muzzle and leash until a
decision about their fate has been reached.

The city of
Belfast already suffered of serious image damage. Every day
there are thousands more people complaining and spreading the word
over Facebook and similar social networks about this disgraceful and
disgusting behavior and get organized to make a change. One can only
hope that the conditions that prevail in Belfast are not present all
over Great Britain. The dogs do not deserve this, and Great Britain
doesn’t deserve this image.

Please punish all parties in this
case in court and change the BSL law so that no dogs are killed and
mistreated simply because of their breed. We are all human and we
should act accordingly.

Sincerely

Joachim Erk

Kirchstrasse
6
61550
Usingen
Germany
/ Deutschland

Brian
Brian
8 years ago

This says it all: “The burden of proof is on the defendant to prove the dog isn’t type or dangerous.” Caroline Barnes failed to prove that Lennox was neither type nor that he was not dangerous. In view of this, THE COURT issued a destroy order so blaming BCC is utterly ridiculous when it is the law (DDA) that is to blame for his demise.

Kenn at Dog Files
8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

They did prove it by bringing in a dog behavorist, but the court ignored it. Plus, BCC and the courts do have discretion and could have given the dog to numerous folks including Victoria Stilwell who offered sanctuary for Lennox in America.
What they did was wrong, benefited no one and gave Northern Ireland and Belfast horribly bad publicity that probably cost them millions in tourist money.

Nancy Stonebraker
8 years ago

I agree kenn. I really think that a thorough investigation needs to be done. Lennox had done nothing wrong. He was put to death for no reason, none other than the fact that he was a pitbull. I always tell people when they talk down about any animal that it is all in how they are raised. If an owner is abusive with their animal, that animal will either be scared for its life; or it will retaliate toward the human and become aggressive. Animals have that right. If they are treated poorly, they have the right to express themselves just like a human would. Those who do abuse animals should not have animals. My dog is my child and he gets the royal treatment. He is my baby. I am not discriminative with breeds. I love them all and I wish i could save them all. I hope Justice gets served in this case. No animal deserves the death penalty.

Rin
Rin
8 years ago

Nancy, Lennox was not a Pitbull.

Deborah
Deborah
8 years ago

He was a service dog for that little girl…that takes intense training..why wasn’t that a good enough reason to leave him with her..If the dog had belonged to some VIP..wonder if he would have been taken away..probably not,,the law would have not applied to them, I’m sure!!!!!

BMSB
BMSB
8 years ago

If this is true what you say about the folks of Northern Ireland, then where were they? Not outside of the BCC trying to save his life, that is for sure! Instead there are a few I have seen from Belfast, on FB lieing and making up crap, and are for the BCC. No, it’s not just the BCC and if those people really want to do something then they need to be outside of the BCC NOW protesting what was done to Lennox, vote them out impeach them!

Judy Schwartzer
Judy Schwartzer
8 years ago

Lennox! Thankyou for being born! So much good is in the works because of you, beautiful boy!

Rizia Ortolani
Rizia Ortolani
8 years ago

Too much word, they killed an innocent sweet, beloved dog, Lennox, that’s the truth. No more words than KILLERS.

Leona Ebert
Leona Ebert
8 years ago

A couple more suggestions is (1) e-mail the Queen to change the laws of e-mail Prince William and ask him to do this in honor of his mother Princess Diana. They are the ones who really could make the changes happen.(2) Write to them and let them know how the world feels about this and ask them to do this in Honor of Princess Diana and make it a law under her name that the owner should be held responseable for the action of their dog.

Luanne Goldman
8 years ago

Still makes me cry for Lennox and her family who loved her

Kaz Cobb
8 years ago

BCC hides behind Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act. THE LAW says they must reply to your letters but they don’t. Do they think they are a law unto themselves or what are they hiding. This whose sorry saga sucks and the end results was an innocent dog loosing his life due to spite and getting one over on people that want to take them on.

Helen Booth
8 years ago

this dog served a purpose, its purpose was to love !!…he was not a fiend he was a friend!!!….

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