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Victoria Stilwell Threatened By Belfast City Council Over Lennox Case

Belfast, Ireland – Now that the case against Ireland’s most famous dog, Lennox, has reached its tragic conclusion, parties to the proceedings are free to speak out. One of Lennox’s most outspoken supporters, Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog,” asserts that members of the Belfast City Council made threats against her and that the Council’s “expert” in the case tried to sue her over statements she made about his qualifications.

According to an open letter Stilwell published on her Facebook page, “the BCC’s ‘expert’ did try to sue me for speaking out against him and questioning his credentials, and yes he did expect money from me to settle the dispute.”

Lennox was a Labrador/bulldog mix who had been the beloved pet of Caroline Barnes and her family since they got him as a puppy in 2005. He was seized by police under Northern Ireland’s “Dangerous Dogs Act,” which prohibits ownership of certain breeds of dogs. Lennox appeared to officials to be a “pit-bull” type dog, one of the prohibited breeds.

Stilwell came into the case a year ago. As an expert on animal behavior, she hoped to provide insight into Lennox’s personality, given that Lennox’s family portrayed him as a harmless family pet, contradicting the Council’s assessment of Lennox as a dangerous animal. She also brought in “canine aggression expert” Jim Crosby to evaluate Lennox. Crosby is a Jacksonville, Florida based expert who is a certified behavior consultant and certified professional dog trainer who has been involved in evaluations of thousands of dogs, including those accused of actually killing people.

Lennox had first been assessed by the Council’s evaluator, Peter Tallack, when Lennox was taken from his family in May 2010. He declared Lennox to be, by his appearance, a “pit-bull type dog,” which is prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act, and indicated that he could be aggressive.
Lennox’s family began what would be a hard-fought two year battle to regain custody of their dog. They hired a lawyer, who brought in their own expert, animal behaviorist Sarah Barnes. Her opinion was that Lennox was a safe dog; this assessment was ignored by the Council and courts.

Next, behaviorist David Ryan was hired by the family. He spent over an hour with Lennox and subjected him to extensive testing designed to bring out any aggressive behavior that may be inherent in a dog. After his meeting with Lennox, Ryan also determined that Lennox did not pose a danger to anyone. His evaluation, too, was rejected by Council and court.

Although neither Stilwell nor Crosby were ever allowed to meet Lennox in person, they reviewed all existing behavioral evaluations of Lennox, and viewed the videotape of Ryan’s testing of Lennox. They both concluded that Lennox was a danger to no one and should be returned to his family.

Despite what seems like overwhelming evidence indicating that Lennox was not a dangerous dog, the Council and each court to which Lennox’s case was presented chose to believe the assessment of the Council’s so-called expert, Tallack, who continued to insist that Lennox was “one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across,” according to the Council’s report. When Stilwell, Crosby and others rightly objected to Tallack’s lean qualifications (he is a former police Constable who worked with police K9 units), the Council and Tallack reacted negatively, culminating in Tallack’s attempt to sue Stilwell, presumably for libel and/or slander. As Stilwell reports, “ was not successful because all I did was speak the truth.

“But,” she goes on to point out, “these are the kind of people that the family, myself and all those who have supported Lennox, have been up against.” The fact that the opinions of proven experts were discounted in favor of someone with barely any qualifications at all begs the question: Was Lennox’s fate preordained when he was taken from his family in 2010?

Perhaps the real truth will come to light now that all parties are free to speak freely.

Written by Mikki Hooven

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Carol Bryant
8 years ago

Go, Victoria, go. I have been a fan of yours forever. THANK YOU for giving Lennox and so many animals a voice. This is beyond a tragedy.

Jessica Swaim Harding
8 years ago

great woman and can i just say screw you tallack you deserve a swift kick to the balls. I say everyone who sees him throw dog scat at him.

Jean Collen
8 years ago

I support Victoria on the issue of poor Lennox. I’m shocked to hear that she was threatened by the Belfast City Council because of her support for Lennox.

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

The council sounds like they had a point to prove to the people and even though they knew this dog was no threat to anyone they were not going to back down.  Low and dirty.  I was especially upset that instead of killing the dog they could have allowed it to go to another place that would accept him.  I have 4 dogs one that is a pit bull and yes he will protect me but if someone came in here to take him away I dont know what I would do.  This whole thing just breaks my heart.

Elaine
8 years ago

Shameful and heartbreaking.
 

Vjnesbitt
Vjnesbitt
8 years ago

Tallack and others involved will eventually get what’s coming to them. It appears they had some ulterior motive in making sure Lennox was murdered. Investigations will bring out the truth, and the Belfast City Council’s actions will come back to haunt them. SO many people are angry about the inhumane and unjust way this all played out that it WILL come back to bite them, even though they couldn’t get Lennox to, no matter how hard they tried!

wunder
wunder
8 years ago

  I’ve had  four of these wonderful dogs (pitty’s), one of them very closely resembling Lennox, so it absolutely broke my heart to watch his story unfold to such a tragic ending as Tyson was a very gentle loving dog and I’d heard that Lennox was of much the same temperament.  
That’s why I feel a bit let down when I read that they’re passing Lennox off as a lab/bulldog cross when, if the pictures are anything to go by, he’s a 100%  pit bull, and a gorgeous one at that.  I didn’t want to lie about what Tyson was, even when it caused me hassle, and especially not when our city (Victoria BC Canada) was going through it’s own battle with Breed Specific Laws back in the 80’s, because he was such an awesome representative of the breed.  He changed a lot of opinions from negative to positive with his consistently calm demeanor and happy go luck nature. 
Thankfully, after many meetings and much debate, we won our fight with city hall, managing to show our (obviously much smarter than Belfast’s) city council that a dog is a dog is a dog and penalizing a breed instead of the individual is not fair or justified.
I hope that Lennox’s horrific story has inspired the dog lovers of Belfast to rally and petition for the changes they want made to these indefensible BSL’s so this never has to happen to another innocent dog… and also, to not forget Lennox on voting day. Cheers

Amanda Bailey
8 years ago
Reply to  wunder

Lennox had dna testing that proved he was not a pitbull. That was another piece of evidence that the council refused to look at. They were not trying to “pass him off” as anything other than what he was. 

Wanda Lee
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda Bailey

If he had no pitbull in him how did the council justify his seizure? And how can they ignore evidence like a DNA test? This case just keeps bringing new questions, and no answers.

Amanda Bailey
8 years ago
Reply to  Wanda Lee

It is all based on how an animal looks. If he looks like any bully breed then he can be seized. Ignoring the DNA results is just one of the many outrageous and unexplainable things this council has done. A lot of people believe it is because he was killed early on so they couldn’t possibly return him.

Mary Shafer
Mary Shafer
8 years ago

I’m becoming strongly suspicious that the reason the Council didn’t allow Lennox to be re-homed outside the UK was that by the time the offers were made, Lennox had already been killed either through neglect or direct abuse by these monstrous people. Preordained fate, indeed. I hope someone with the authority to do so subjects this entire proceeding to the highest possible scrutiny. Everything about it just reeks of corruption and lies.  So sue THIS, Tallack, you pathetic excuse for a human being!

Muddy8paws
Muddy8paws
8 years ago

I still cannot figure out what the BCC gained with all of this lying and fabrication against one dog.  What the hell is going on here?

dkj
dkj
8 years ago

What the BCC has to gain is a lot of bad publicity. Plain and simple, do not live in this area with any kind of dog. They will find a reason to kill it. I hope they are enjoying all the bad publicity!!

V Gail Price
8 years ago

And I am so sick of seeing that one council woman’s quote about, they followed through with killing him instead of release and would not allow him sanctuary in the USA  because there was no suitable way to assure *public safety* (which now with the release of photo’s and video’s is going to be PROVEN uneeded to begin with) They can not tell me they are not seriously aware of Vicrotia’s credibility and I’m not talking about her tv show, no safe place .. have they never heard of DogTown or VRC among others, these places were created for dogs who would die for various reason’s as well as what Tia (VRC) calls the lifers whom can not ever be adopted but still have quality of life with them. Can’t understand the councils unwillingness to except DNA evidence either. It is suitable enough for decided guilt/innocence as well as life/death for a human why was it not good enough for this dog.
BSL only effects GOOD dogs in Loving, proper homes .. killing family pets will not stop the dog man down the streets pitbull from killing someone why ? because he doesn’t vet, license, register or walk his dog so you can’t find him, your trying to use us to send a message to them & there not getting it, PLEASE stop killing our family’s.
If you supported Lennox in Life <3 stand Strong and Honor him now by fighting BSL EVERYWHERE !!!

Weemcphie
Weemcphie
8 years ago

Councils ! Dont get me started on those idiots! Poor poor Lennox…….i feel for him so badly and his family xxxx well done Victoria…i have followed this with much sadness in my heart …as i stand to lose 3 of my beautiful babies not in the same way as Lennox with euthinasia but after a failed relationship with an unfaithful partner i got a council house to move to ….and i have five siberian huskies……but they will ot allow me to take all of them ….even though i said i would have proffessionaly built kennels for them in a huge back garden i have…..and i would be responsible for any or all damage inflicted…which would be none as my dogs are trained rigididly ! Also the council have been made aware that this would have a bad aafect on my son with mental health issues should he lose three of is pack of five dogs as they are theraputic to him……but the do ot give a damn……so i have no faith in ANY council ! I deffo think Lennox fate was sealed as soon as he was ripped from his family ! …..i kknow my situation is not as dire as poor Lennox and his family……but i still feel so brokenhearted at having to split my dogs up and lose three ! I have been with them sice puls and even birthed three of them myself ! …..is there no justice and no compassion with these council workers ? The big almighty ego decision makers ! I wish i could win the lottery and buy a house …then we could all stay together ……they are part of my family……….RIP dear Lennox xxxxxxxxxxx they will get theirs ……karma is a bitch ! Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Elkiefan
Elkiefan
8 years ago

No one should ever believe anything that Belfast City Council says. We know they lie!

Barbara Gonzales
Barbara Gonzales
8 years ago

I as will as many other will stand with you and by you will we will not let this go untill all this nazi get what they got coming to them we will not rest till we know that justice has been service and it not a slap on the hand justice is what they did to lennox they do yo them that my friend is true justice

Carol Kerr
8 years ago

I visited Ireland 15 years ago and was planning a return trip.  Not any more.  I’ll spend my tourist dollars in a more civilized country. 

divassallo@yahoo.com
8 years ago

Thank you for sticking to your own convictions, Victoria……love ya!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

The vile and despicable actions of the BCC, the dog wardens, and the judges have earned each and every one of them a special place in Hell.  What they did to an innocent dog for NO reason other than the way he looks is so beyond evil it makes me sick.  The ALL knew Lennox wasn’t a pit bull or even a mix, but that didn’t matter.  How many Boxer, Bulldog, Lab, etc, puppies do they want killed at birth because they ‘MIGHT’ look like a pit?  The dangerous people are the ones who wrote this law, enforce it, and pretend they’re ‘just following the law’ when they decide to murder an innocent dog for no reason other than their own stubborn, filthy egos.  When what happened to Lennox is investigated, I hope every dirty thing they did is exposed and everyone responsible for this has to pay a penalty BEFORE they reach Lucifer’s gates.  

mandy h
mandy h
8 years ago

Justice for Lennox’s murder needs to happen. I am in no way qualified to evaluate dogs, but following the case it is obvious he WAS NOT a dangerous dog. Breed Specific Legislation = Canine Racism.

Cheryl57
Cheryl57
8 years ago

this is going to happen more and more…it is now happening in Canada with a Malamute..the lady who was bit is lying she was bit by her own dog. There was a witness who saw what happened and the animal control officer in charge does not want to hear it. The dog has been taken away from its family and put in a small concrete cell. These animal control officers need to take responsibility for their actions and answer to US. They are public servants who work for US but yet they are allowed to act like kings and queens of their own little counties. Karma is a BITCH and she is coming for all of you. You will all have your own little space in HELL right next to Michael Vick. 

Alexkerr05
Alexkerr05
8 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl57

I hope they intend to take the case to court as the judge will hear the witness. They must seek lega council. Have you got a link

Cheryl57
Cheryl57
8 years ago
Reply to  Alexkerr05

they do have an attorney and the witness has spoken out to the press and public. I dont have link but if you go to the FB page of the FiveSibes the story is on their page and you will see it.

Cheryl57
Cheryl57
8 years ago
Reply to  Alexkerr05

Also there is a FB page called Shadow vs. the RDCO or you can find it on Youtube also if you are not on FB

Libby Thomson
8 years ago

This is heartbreaking…simply heartbreaking.

Cat Whispurrer
8 years ago

Those monstrous trolls on the Belfast City Council are no better than the Nazis and ALL deserve to suffer the same fate as Lennox. Each of them will have to answer on their Judgement Day by the Highest Power, with no absolution. In the meantime, they must be charged with the harshest violations of animal rights and human rights for the harassment and mental cruelty of Lennox and his loving, responsible family. They must ALL lose their jobs and never be allowed in “public service” again. Show them NO mercy.  Let their punishment fit their crimes. Corruption, Fraud, Perjury, Murder! May they all rot and burn in hell for all the harm they inflicted against the most pure and innocent, and the sooner, they are removed, the better for the world. If there is any TRUE justice, they would all be put down as the “mad dogs”  they have proven beyond all doubt to be. Let us boycott Belfast and all of Northern Ireland, as a country without a heart or backbone, to allow such evil atrocities was heartless, gutless, ruthless and soul-less. This is indicative of Northern Ireland’s immoral acts against innocent civilians in England during the second World War. Lest we forget… The people of Ireland kept their lights on at night to allow the Germans to target &U bomb England as they slept. We will never forget, nor ever let the world forget what you did to Lennox. A Pox on each and every one of you. Evil bastards!

Trackcoachtj
Trackcoachtj
8 years ago

Let’s see in Belfast the Council can do anything to anyone and they all support each other’s ruling, lies and deception! Do they think we are all stupid?? And that jackass cop “dog expert” he needs to burn in hell, along with the dog warden..they deserve each other!!! Hmm Michael Vick is dangerous so maybe he shouls be PTS so no more innocent dogs will be murdered by this maniac!! All the members of the BCC should be put down for looking, acting and being stupid!!!

Liane
Liane
8 years ago

I am so sad about this horribe fact! Lennox was a inocent dog.Poor Lennox.Shame!Shame!

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