Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm sorry, Lennox

Lennox, the Belfast "pit bull type" dog, is to be put down. He's an American Bull Dog/Labrador Retriever cross. But, he "looks" like a "pit bull", and his measurements are like a pit bull. So, too bad. He's been impounded for two years. His family has fought for him for two years. Frankly, I wondered if he had been euthanized long before now, but the bureaucracy kept rolling. They didn't even let the family say goodbye. That may have been a blessing; a dog kept in a shelter environment for two years may not be the dog that he was when he went in.

The Lennox case perplexed me. I tried, very hard, to find another side. I wanted to find editorials about how Lennox had been a terror to the neighborhood, a menace, running about off leash taking shots at people. Granted, it's hard to find the story at all. One account says that the animal warden showed up to the family's house, unannounced, measured Lennox's muzzle and body with a measuring tape, and said he was a pit bull and must be euthanized.  I mentioned in the final Heidi the Doberman post that Lennox had knocked down a dog warden, but I'm hard pressed to find articles that say that now. It's hard for me to find a dog guilty based on knocking somebody down, of course; he could have jumped up in play, to smell her face, any number of things. I'd like to say "blame the deed, not the breed", but there was no bite here.

Without witnessing an event, it's hard to say what happened, and even then, it isn't always cut and dry. A Huffington Post article does relate that two separate animal behaviorists examined Lennox and thought that he was just fine, behaviorally speaking. Not an aggressive threat.

There have been petitions and boycotts and letters written. People have petitioned that Belfast be skipped along the torch passing route for the summer olympics. The torch was scheduled to pass through on June 6; I don't doubt that it did. Lennox is only a dog, right? I'm sure any number of people outside of Northern Ireland would have been poised to adopt him, whisk him away to a theoretically safer location, where just having a big square head wasn't a death sentence. I wonder if people rethink Labrador ownership?

Lennox had been legally owned and legally registered in Belfast until then; they had even done a DNA test to prove that he was an American Bull Dog (not a banned breed) and a Labrador Retriever (another not banned breed). Since his removal, he was evidently kept in what amounts to a concrete box with sawdust on the floor, seen in photographs that his keepers released. One might assume, since he was a BigScaryMeanDog, that he had no human contact, no play, no toys. For a human, solitary confinement of that sort, for that length of time, might be considered questionable. But Lennox is only a dog, right? One whose fate was pretty much sealed from the moment he left his owner's custody.

For a dog that never bit anybody to be euthanized makes no sense. For a dog who is not suffering from a terminal disease, an irreparable injury, uncontrollable aggression, or neurological condition to be euthanized is sinful. It's a failure of humanity. It makes me sad and sick and I wonder...well, I wonder too much. And it seems that nobody gets answers.

22 comments:

  1. I don't think you wonder too much at all. But that's because I wonder the same things. Excellent post.

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    1. Thank you. It seems like they could have figured something else out in the two years up to this point. I'm not sure why euthanization was preferable.

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  2. This is what you get with an over-zealous government. It is too bad. I am surprised that in two years the residents of that area could not get the laws changed or the politicians thrown out of office. But then, I am not sure how things work in Belfast. And sadly, too many people think the role of government is to regulate these things, whether it be in the for of BSL, or breeder legislation.

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    1. I'm not really sure what it takes in the UK for citizenry enacted legislation. I know that I've heard talk about how concerned with their civil rights they are.

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  3. I wonder along with you. Personally? I think they did this because of the media attention. I think they got mad and decided a dog should pay for their pride, their inability to see beyond their own personal reputations and self-aggrandizement. I think they did this out of spite. I have always wanted to visit Ireland, but I am now scratching them off my list. Yes. I know this is northern Ireland, but as an Irish-American I want no part in their murder if a dog.
    Okay. Now I'm getting mad again. I may have to write a post.

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    1. The Republic of Ireland is still a fine place to visit. As a part of the UK, Northern Ireland would be the place to avoid in this instance, along with Scotland and England.

      Definitely post. There are plenty of people who are mad. Maybe it will save the next Lennox (though I'm not sure when his euthanization date even is. They don't say that either.)

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  4. Love your commentary here. I hadn't been following the story until recently, and every range of emotions from anger to just being sad and feeling like we can never change the world fast enough, have run through my head. And now I'm wondering, too. Grrr.

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    1. Thank you. Any change at all is so hard to make, but changing from senselessness should be easy, right? I guess not.

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  5. I couldn't believe it when I read the news yesterday. It made me terribly sad. I don't know a lot about the laws in Ireland, but I can't believe that at the very least, the government could just come in and seize property with no clear basis.(Since dogs are usually considered property in most places) I keep wondering what there is about this story that no one has heard, because something just feels like it doesn't fit.

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    1. It's because Belfast, in Northern Ireland, is part of the UK, which has the Dangerous Dogs Act, banning pit bulls. There is also a no guns law there (though I think perhaps the Republic of Ireland has that as well).

      Really, they passed this law in Denver, too. Your pit bulls may be seized and euthanized, just for existing. It's sad, and it's disgusting.

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  6. This story makes me so sad. :(

    ~Higgins

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  7. I've never understood why the Belfast officials wouldn't allow any of the many organizations to remove Lennox from Ireland to the many places where he could have lived free. His owners had no objection to this plan.

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    1. That one is a surprise to me as well, especially when a year ago they ruled that the family must still pay for Lennox's impounded care (that's one article I saw, anyway. Not sure if they went along with it or what). They apparently preferred to keep the dog, and kill the dog. Which makes no sense.

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  8. This case is an embarassment that leaves us not wanting to know how Ireland treats the rest of their animals...

    Oskar & Pam

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    1. Really, it's an embarrassment for any country. Denver, CO has a pit bull ban, and has euthanized dogs just for passing through, with far less hullaballoo than has been going on in Northern Ireland.

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    1. It is sad, and there's just nothing to be done, it seems. It hasn't mattered who has evaluated the dog, who's offered to take Lennox, nothing.

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  10. Mum has been following that case since it started, it is SO heart breaking, poor family, poor Lennox



    Slobbers

    P.s We are SO sorry we are behind on all your posts, we have been kept really busy lately :(

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    1. I learned about it late, but the outcome was, unfortunately, what I expected it to be. It isn't nice being right, sometimes :(


      (it's all right, I'm just glad you're still reading!)

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  11. There's a story behind the story that we may never know! Victoria Stillwell observed Lennox stating even when harassed he backed into a corner and lowered his head never even attempting to attack. There have been rejected offers to take him from Ireland. The women who claimed he jumped at her and nipped her is the very person tending to him. Lennox will die because of human pride

    Personally I would rather Kirby be put down rather than live the way Lennox has these past 2 years with no affection or comfort. I couldn't bear knowing Kirby was waiting and wondering why I hadn't come to save him.

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    1. Unfortunately, I agree. I would have preferred Lennox, and even Elka, be put down before having to spend 2 years in a concrete box with no love or stimulation. It's cruel and it's ridiculous that it was governmentally backed.

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