Published Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Lennox was seized by dog wardens two years ago. (© Pacemaker)
Belfast dog owner Caroline Barnes took the case of her dog Lennox to the most senior judges in Northern Ireland, in a bid to have a destruction order overturned.
The long-running case has already been heard by two lower courts in the last two years, with the rulings going against Ms Barnes each time.
Tuesday's appeal was her final chance to save Lennox, but Lord Justice Girvan agreed with the County Court judge's ruling that the dog could not be made safe and must be destroyed.
DUP leader Peter Robinson was among those inundated with requests to intervene by thousands of supporters from around the world, who have signed online petitions over the case - including one to boycott Belfast.
But using the Twitter hashtag #SaveLennox, he tweeted: "We are bound by the principle of the separation of powers. Politicians have no power to interfere with decisions of the courts."
But he admitted that, as a dog lover, he was unhappy about the outcome and said he had been involved in a similar case in Castlereagh - where he served as a councillor for more than 30 years.
"In the Castlereagh case, we succeeded in stopping it going to court. As soon as it does, it is out of the hands of politicians," Mr Robinson tweeted.
He later added in response to a challenge on his inability to intervene: "It's not a political view. It's a legal fact."
Lennox, now aged seven, was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens two years ago.
His owner has since acknowledged that the dog is a pitbull-type, but legal counsel for Ms Barnes had been arguing that the dog has never bitten anyone and has behaved well since being impounded.