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Appeals fail in the fight to save Lennox

Wednesday June 13th, 2012

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Lennox was found guilty of being a Pit Bull mix; a justice called the dog, “a disaster waiting to happen.”

A Belfast dog that made headlines around the world will soon meet a sad end after a shocking conclusion to a two-year legal battle.

Lennox, a 7-year-old Pit Bull Terrier-like dog, has been deemed dangerous by the high courts in Northern Ireland and will soon be destroyed.

Though he had never shown any outward signs of aggression, in May 2010, Lennox was seized from his home by Belfast City Council officials and has been interred at an animal control facility ever since. Away from his family and left to endure substandard conditions, Lennox awaited his fate while his family fought passionately for his return.

A worldwide campaign to spare Lennox’s life included an Internet petition signed by over 100,000 Lennox supporters, countless letters, and press coverage. Celebrities like professional trainer Victoria Stilwell of It’s Me or the Dog have spoken out on Lennox’s behalf.

But it seems that all of those efforts weren’t enough to tackle the injustices of Breed-Specific Legislation.

Lennox’s owner, 35-year-old Belfast resident Caroline Barnes, filed one last appeal to the senior judges in an attempt to save her dog’s life, but that appeal was overruled on Tuesday.

Lord Justice Givan of the high court called Lennox “a disaster waiting to happen” despite the dog’s history as a kind family pet to the Barnes family and an aide dog to young Brooke Barnes, who is disabled.

Because Lennox is a Pit Bull-like dog, he is considered automatically dangerous under the 2011 amendments to the United Kingdom’s Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA). Though Lennox has been described as a Labrador Retriever-American Bulldog mix, his physical characteristics place him in the Pit Bull category, according to the DDA laws.

It is unclear what the Barnes family’s next move will be or what could possibly be done to save Lennox.

The high court’s decision has sparked protests and even a “Boycott Belfast” movement. “Lennox, we will never forget you,” the site’s heading reads. “And we will make sure Belfast doesn’t either!”

Lennox’s family released a statement via The Lennox Campaign site. “We would like to thank everyone for the countless messages that we have received in the last 24 hours during what is a very difficult time for our family,” the Barnes family writes. “We take some comfort in the knowledge that we are not the only ones to be devastated by the recent ruling.”

Watch a video of Lennox below:

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