Court orders destruction of therapy dog described as girl’s ‘soulmate’

Created: 15/06/2012

A BELFAST woman has failed in a final legal attempt to spare the life of her dog.

Northern Ireland’s most senior judges rejected Caroline Barnes’ bid to overturn an order for the destruction of, Lennox, who she says is a Labrador/American Bulldog cross.

He was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens in May 2010. He was assessed to be a danger to the public and subsequently ordered to be put down by two lower courts.

The announcement that after the protracted legal battle six-year-old Lennox is to be put to sleep has caused outrage worldwide. The campaign to save him continues and the council is being flooded with emails calling for action to be taken.

Lennox is not only a family pet but has also served as a therapy dog, and is described as the soulmate of Mrs Barnes’ 13-year-old disabled daughter Brook. He has been microchipped, neutered, DNA registered, insured, and even has a valid city-issued dog licence.

Mrs Barnes, a former veterinary nurse, accepted that Lennox had been deemed to be ‘a pit bull type’, but claimed there had been a failure to properly consider a possible exemption scheme. Her legal team went before the Court of Appeal seeking to compel the County Court judge who confirmed the destruction order to state a case on points of law. They argued that Lennox had never bitten anyone or behaved aggressively, and had behaved impeccably since being impounded. They said he has not been given the chance to show it could be safe.

The decision that Lennox should be put down came after amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act were extended to Northern Ireland in 2011.

However on Tuesday, the Appeal Court judges dismissed Ms Barnes' application.

"The judge had heard evidence on the issues relating to this dog over a protracted two-day hearing, carefully considered the evidence and the issues and he reached conclusions of fact which have not been vitiated by any error of law on his part,” Lord Justice Girvan said.

To sign the petition to the Northern Ireland Assembly to save Lennox visit www.petitiononline.com/sl190510/petition.html



Grannieannie, 16/06/2012

There is obviously no soul left in Belfast - I have no wish to ever visit there if they can take this dog's life whose only crime was to look like a pit bull type.

Kathy, 15/06/2012

I added my name to the petition many months ago, so am unable to make any further comments to Ministers on the petition. I see there are over 142,000 signatures now. I would like to say the following to the Ministers:
The eyes of the world are upon Belfast. This dog Lennox has not done anything to warrant being killed. He has not attacked anyone. You have kept him locked up for 2 years for how he looks, not for what he has done. Surely in law, fairness should also play a part and if Ministers have any compassion for this dog and his family, they should make some effort to allow him to live. Many people across the world have pledged to adopt him if you just let him go to them. For pity’s sake, have some compassion and let Lennox, an innocent dog, live. He has endured 2 years with no love, no play and from the photos I have seen, very little appropriate housing and veterinary treatment. If an animal hoarder were to treat a dog like this, you would take them to court! Perhaps, as someone kills him, they may take hold of him, be kind to him, whisper to him that there are people that love him, apologise to him and then kill him. Better still, let him live. For pity’s sake.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world (many in the USA) are vowing never to visit Belfast or Ireland again if you can treat innocents in this way. Think of that as you execute poor Lennox. Please reconsider and let him go back to his family, or to another family outside of Ireland.