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
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:
DARD Private Office
Phone Number of Minister’s office on 028 9052 4739
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.
Dog Files Creator
Rest in Peace, Lennox. We will do great things in your name!