This type of tragedy due to breed specific legislation is not limited just to Northern Ireland. Several countries around the world have similar legislation, including the United States.
Despite exhaustive efforts by the family, politicians, celebrities and the international public outcry to save Lennox the dog after a two-year battle, he was sadly killed this morning.
Lennox was a 5 year old American Bull dog and Lab mix that was taken from his home and family in Northern Ireland in May, 2010 because he resembled a Pit Bull. The Belfast City Council seized Lennox under the Dangerous Dog Act, breed specific legislation that has marked Pit Bulls as a threat. As midnight came and went, so did the opportunity for the family to appeal the Belfast City Councilís decision to kill Lennox. Sometime this morning, Lennox was put to sleep without his family who were not allowed to see him over the past two years or even say goodbye.The Belfast City Council posted the following press release following the despicable act:
Dangerous dog is put to sleep following final court decision
Belfast City Council confirmed today that the dog 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.
Unfortunately, this type of tragedy due to breed specific legislation is not limited just to Northern Ireland. Several countries around the world have similar legislation, including the United States. Only eleven states, including Minnesota, have state laws banning breed specific legislation. The Understand-A-Bull website has an interactive map showing which municipalities have breed specific legislation.
In April, a documentary about breed discrimination, Beyond the Myth, began showing at limited engagements around the country, including Minneapolis thanks to SecondHand Hounds. Beyond the Myth was a very informative, sad look into breed specific legislation and how it has impacted families and their dogs. Beyond the Myth will be officially released on September 18th, 2012 and is worth seeing. View movie trailer to the left of this article.
The end to Lennoxís two-year battle is heartbreaking. Hopefully his loss and the Belfast City Councilís blatant display of ignorance and heartlessness will plant the seeds of awareness for those in similar situations and bring results that do not end in the loss of an innocent animal.
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