BELFAST Dog Show Society wants to make it clear that it has no connection with Belfast City Council.
Officers from the local authority were responsible for the seizure of Lennox, who was recently put to sleep on suspicion of being a pit bull type after two years in the authority’s kennels, and some of the show’s sponsors are being contacted by people living abroad saying they should not support the show, in the belief that the society has a connection with the council.
Secretary Jackie Stubbs said this week: "We want to make it clear that the actions of the City Council in relation to the Lennox case have absolutely no connection whatsoever with our society. In fact, we believe that the members of our society, other dog clubs and all right-thinking people in Northern Ireland backed the ‘Save Lennox Campaign’, including Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson, who visited our dog show last September, and who interceded on Lennox’s behalf.
"All this was, sadly, to no avail
as the council stated that they were only abiding by the law.
"Our society has been involved in the promotion and wellbeing of dogs since 1880, being one of the oldest societies in the UK, and has continued to work over those many years for the good of dogs, showing the better side of dog ownership, helping and educating attendees of our shows through various means such as the Good Citizen Dog Scheme awards, agility and obedience as well as the show ring. Exhibitors at our shows come from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Europe, as do our judges.
"As a society registered with the Kennel Club we support the belief: ‘punish the deed not the breed’, and our members deeply regret the death of Lennox and the circumstances surrounding his euthanasia. Unfortunately our society, like other dog clubs in Northern Ireland, have no input into the law regarding dog legislation; this is decided by government officials and civil servants, over whom, sadly, we have no control, nor are we asked our opinion when legislation is in the making.
"The City Council consists of councillors voted into position by the various constituencies in Belfast; our society merely takes its name from the city where it was founded more than 130 years ago. Its members are drawn from all over Northern Ireland, few of whom live or have a vote within Belfast City; the majority of members living in other cities and towns around Northern Ireland.
"The society totally refutes any connection with the City Council or any of its councillors, and it must be stressed that the council has never supported the society in any way, financial or otherwise.
"We are absolutely appalled that anyone from abroad, particularly people who should know better, are calling for a boycott of our championship show in September, which merely exists to promote the positive side of dogs and dog ownership, to the public, educate the dog-owning public and offer the hospitality of our society and country to all dog enthusiasts, wherever they come from.”