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13th-Jul-2012 01:17 am - Leaked video contradicts Belfast assertion that Lennox was 'dangerous'
Collette Gillian
12 July 2012

This is the leaked video as viewed on Youtube

The story of the seizure of Lennox, a Belfast dog killed under the United Kingdom's Dangerous Dog Act, captured emotions across the world.

Lennox was condemned to die because he looked like a "pit bull type" dog, and consequently, the Belfast City Council asserted that he had to be destroyed to protect the public. However, a video which has just surfaced seems to contradict the Belfast City Council's description of Lennox as "a dangerous dog".

The dog was removed from his family's home by Belfast dog wardens who, although Lennox was registered as a "bulldog", and had no history of aggression or complaints, took the dog anyway. Lennox was subsequently sentenced to die because his appearance met the standard physical measurements which were deemed indicative of "a dangerous dog", under the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act.

This video, dated March 15, 2011, allegedly shows Lennox being tested for temperament by David Ryan, a dog behavior expert hired by the Barnes family to assess the dog.

His owners, the Barnes family, fought in the courts for two years to save their pet's life - a battle which they ultimately lost on July 11, 2012, when Lennox was put to sleep by Belfast authorities.

Facing worldwide outrage, the Belfast City Council insisted they had no choice; Lennox was so dangerous, they alleged that, in the interests of public safety, they were forced to euthanize him. In fact, they said, the dog was so vicious that they could not allow him to be re-homed; not even with celebrity dog trainer, Victoria Stilwell.

Now a video has surfaced on Facebook which reportedly shows Lennox, on a leash, being tested for temperament. The leash is held by a woman alleged to be Sandie Lightfoot, the dog warden responsible for the chain of events that led to Lennox's murder. The man in the video is reportedly David Ryans, a dog behavior expert hired by the family to do an assessment of Lennox without any prejudice. Ryans was one of two dog behavior experts who examined Lennox, and who both testified to the court that the dog showed no sign of aggression.

In the video, the dog is relaxed and friendly. He sits on command, and waits for a treat. Several times, he attempts to lick both people in a visibly friendly and playful manner.

The video is dated March 15, 2011. This is long after both Lightfoot and the Belfast City Council had alleged that Lennox was aggressive towards people. The video shows no signs of aggression. Moreover, Lightfoot, who by this time certainly had interacted with Lennox several times, shows no nervousness at being around the dog, at all.

Many questions have been raised about Lennox's case. The decision of the Belfast City Council to press forward with his execution, when they had other, viable options available to them, is perplexing. Their resolute decision to turn a deaf ear to the pleas of the world to spare Lennox's life, and to refuse to allow the family to see their pet - not even once - in the two years they held Lennox has garnered Belfast nothing but bad publicity and ill-will.

This video, which appears to contradict the Council's rationale for putting an innocent family pet to death, will only add to the growing chorus of voices demanding answers.
11th-Jul-2012 03:05 pm - Heartbreak as death row dog Lennox destroyed by Belfast council
Belfast Telegraph
Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lennox, killed by Belfast City Council for looking like himself - and nothing else

Lennox, the dog at the centre of an international campaign to stop a Northern Ireland council from putting him to sleep, has been destroyed.

The dog's heartbroken owner, Caroline Barnes, said her teenage daughter Brooke had been denied the chance to say a final farewell.

"We had told Brooke that even if we don't win (the case), she can still see Lennox, have her last pictures with him and say goodbye," said Ms Barnes.

"To then have to tell her that no, that is not happening, it has been extremely unfair."

The family has been told the dog's body will not be returned but they will receive his ashes.

Last night Lennox supporters staged a protest in Spain, following similar rallies in New York and Serbia.

Ms Barnes said: "We can draw a bit of comfort from all of the brilliant friends that we have made."

The family pet was put down this morning after the expiry of a midnight deadline for legal appeals.

Campaigners claim to have 200,000 signatures supporting a reprieve and emotions were running high.

A Belfast City Council spokesman said: "Lennox, an illegal pit-bull terrier type, has been humanely put to sleep. This was in accordance with the Order of the County Court which was affirmed by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.

"Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type (pit-bull terrier 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. The Council’s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.

"Over the past two years, Council officials have been subjected to a sustained campaign of abuse including threats of violence and death threats. The Council has been in ongoing contact with the PSNI in relation to that.

"The Council regrets that the court action was necessary but would emphasise that the safety of the public remains its key priority."

Lennox was impounded by Belfast City Council's dog wardens in 2010.

In June, Northern Ireland's most senior judges rejected Caroline Barnes' legal bid to overturn an order for the destruction of her pet.

Ms Barnes, who is disabled, and her family insisted that Lennox was not dangerous, and while it was not clear exactly what breed he was, pit bulls and dogs like them are illegal in Northern Ireland.

Two lower courts had already ruled that the dog should be put down.

The dog 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.

A former Metropolitan Police dog handler claimed the dog represented a danger due to his unpredictability.

Ms Barnes, 35, had accepted her pet was a pit-bull type, but claimed there had been a failure to properly consider a possible exemption scheme.

Her battle for Lennox became an international campaign to save his life. It went "viral" on social media websites and attracted tens of thousands of well-wishers.

Well-known people including boxer Lennox Lewis and Assembly First Minister Peter Robinson were among those who used Twitter to call for the dog to be spared.
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