Robinson brands Lennox death 'folly'

Published Wednesday, 11 July 2012
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First Minister Peter Robinson has taken to Twitter to condemn the destruction of Lennox, the dog put to sleep at the order of Northern Ireland's highest courts after being deemed to be a pitbull-type and dangerous to the public.

Robinson brands Lennox death 'folly'
Lennox was seized by dog wardens two years ago. (© Pacemaker)

The dog - which belonged to Belfast woman Caroline Barnes - has been at the centre of a long-running international campaign to save it, since being seized by Belfast City Council two years ago.

But on Wednesday, the council confirmed that the destruction order had been carried out after a 28-day reprieve period ran out at midnight.

"Destroying a dog that had no history of aggression is folly and shames society," DUP leader Peter Robinson tweeted, having previously told Lennox supporters that he was unhappy with the outcome of the legal battle.

But the council said that, while it regretted that the court action was necessary, the safety of the public remained its priority.

"Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type may be admitted as an alternative to destruction, there were no such measures that could be applied in this case that would address the concerns relating to public safety," a statement added.

"The Council's expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across."

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Lennox's family said they had been denied the chance to say goodbye to the animal.

"We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy," it read.

"Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home.

"We have been informed however that we will receive 'some' ashes in the mail."

Lennox's story has grabbed the attention of animal lovers across the world, with hundreds of thousands of signatures on an online petition and protests held in New York and Belfast.

Celebrity dog experts like Cesar Millan and Victoria Stilwell have also shown their support for the 'Save Lennox' campaign.

Animal Rights Action Network director John Carmody described Northern Ireland's Dangerous Dogs Act as a "complete shambles".

He added: "People are today heartbroken, shedding tears and crying out loud with the news that Belfast City Council has murdered Lennox.

"Northern Ireland's Dangerous Dogs Act is a complete shambles and does nothing to protect their guardians, or the safety of the public from possible dog attacks. The legislation needs to be scrapped and completely reviewed with a view to Deed not Breed."

Mr Robinson has also said that he has written to the minister responsible, Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill, asking for a review of the law.

Belfast City councillor Pat McCarthy said he understands the family's position.

"I can understand because I'm a dog owner myself and over the years I have had to have dogs put to sleep, and they become part of the family," he told UTV.

"But we had to implement the law - we don't make the law, we are just charged with implementing it."

The council also said its members have received threats from campaigners and that contact with the PSNI in relation to those threats was ongoing.

Lennox’s owners campaigned to save their pet.
© UTV News
Comments Comments
181 Comments
Mark in Cork Ireland wrote (733 days ago):
Sincere sympathy to the Barnes family and in particular Brooke. Please know that you are not alone, and the fight for justice for poor Lennox will continue, its the very least the poor boy deserves. Surely there is someone in authority in Belfast with the courage and integrity to stand up and admit this was so wrong from the start. Tell the truth bcc when did he die and why?
Karen Stevens Gailey in California wrote (739 days ago):
I came late to this story having not long ago signed a petition for Lennox. What I am reading today breaks my heart. I want to extend my deepest heartfelt sympathy to Lennox' family, while also saluting their courage and determination in doing what was right. Such a long battle in which they stood by their cherished canine family member is extraordinarily rare. I am honored to know of their courage. Surely Lennox knew their love. As to the Belfast City Council, I must express my disbelief of your ignorance and barbaric behavior. Destroying a dog because of erroneous categorization (racism rather than intelligence) is nothing different than destroying one because of their religion. A family that fights for their pet for two years should have given you a clue about bonds, humanity, not to mention the likely behavior of the dog. Belfast will never see a penny of my tourism dollars. I'd rather stay home with my dogs.
Norm Starr in Canada wrote (739 days ago):
"norman.d in Bangor" WHAT?????? there are far more breeds ahaed of "bully" types that have biten frequently and have done far more damage. Get your facts straight before you speak only to show your ignorance.
Norm Starr in Canada wrote (739 days ago):
@mark in Londonderry what a load of crap. You can add all the "what ifs' you want and they won't add up to a mound of horse manure. Lennox was 6 or 7 yrs old and NEVER showed any aggression. He was not bred "to fight and hurt" You talk like the typical idiot that has created this situation in the first place.
mark in Londonderry wrote (740 days ago):
Dog was a banned species that was cross bred for one purpose, to fight and cause injury. It might not have hurt anyone so far, but inevitably, probably a small child would have had its face ripped off, so there should be no arguement from anyone about it being put down. What would you say if it was your child mauled? Would you want this dog on the streets? I think not. Disgraceful that this story even made it to the news never mind a headline story.
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