Despite the offer of a home from dog trainer and specialist Victoria Stilwell, Lennox the dog is scheduled to be destroyed on Monday. It's a move that even has former world boxing champ Lennox Lewis asking "why?"
The case of Lennox the dog has attracted worldwide attention since the Labrador/American Bulldog was seized by the City of Belfast in Northern Ireland, back in May 2010 and ordered to be destroyed for being a "pit-bull type" dog under the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA), even though the family pet has never shown aggression in seven years of life.
Several eminent celebrities and the dog's owners – the Barnes family, have been fighting to save the dog for two long years, but in a heartbreaking letter posted on Facebook on July 2, the Barnes family announced that in the best interest of their beloved dog Lennox, they did not wish to "prolong his suffering any longer by engaging in a battle that we simply cannot win."
The Barnes family's final hope was that rather than destroying their dog, Belfast City Council would release him to Victoria Stilwell, the star and host of It's Me of the Dog. Stilwell had agreed to adopt Lennox and move him out of Northern Ireland, an offer that was refused by the council a couple of days ago.
Despite global support which included a protest rally today outside of Belfast City Hall, and another planned at the British and Irish Consulates in New York City on Monday, Lennox is destined to be destroyed on Monday.
The Barnes family has even received support from The Dog Whisperer himself, Cesar Millan, but all pleas, have so far fallen on deaf ears. Nobody at Belfast City Council seems to want to listen. Now entering the ring in what could be the last round, is retired boxer (and most recent), undisputed world heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis.
On July 5, Lewis posted this tweet on Twitter:
It is a question that many people have asked, particularly as Stilwell's official report described how:
Lennox showed a number of deference behaviours including turning his head away, licking his lips, turning his body and walking away, in response to David Ryan’s attempts to frustrate him. This is an impressive trait in any dog and shows a dog using submissive behaviour rather than offensive behaviour to cope in what is a relatively stressful situation.
Belfast City Council's absolute refusal to acknowledge the concerns of many, even has some questioning whether Lennox has already been destroyed, and the council's refusal to allow the family to see their dog one last time, has only served to fuel such rumors. On July 5, Penny Eims of Examiner.com, wrote:
Those who have been fighting for his life wonder why those in authority are fighting all options to spare this dog's life - unless he is already gone.
The North Country Gazette is reporting that Lennox today also received support from officials from the country of Georgia, the former Soviet Republic, who brought forth a proposal to save Lennox.
Others who have stepped up said the Gazette, include Peter Robinson, First Minister of Northern Ireland who sent an official letter addressed to the Queen, and ex-Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Franco Frattini.
In June, a last ditch effort by the family was thwarted when a judge upheld the decision of two lower courts to euthanize their pet. The family's legal team had appeared before the Court of Appeal seeking to compel the County Court judge who confirmed the destruction order to state a case on points of law, but the application was dismissed. With all legal options now exhausted, Lennox's only hope rests with the court of public opinion.
Update: Sunday July 8
Victoria Stilwell still refuses to give up the fight. This morning, Stilwell posted on Twitter:
Victoria Stilwell @ItsMeOrTheDog
Despite repeated requests, @BelfastCC has refused 2 meet me 2 discuss alternatives for @SaveLennox. Why? I'm not going away, so let's talk.
Stilwell, who is with the family in Belfast also posted this on the Save Lennox Campaign blog:So to the Belfast court system and the BCC, I now publicly give you my word that if you remand custody of Lennox to me and allow me to take him to a safe place in the US, I will not disparage the BCC, the Belfast court system, or those involved with this case in any way moving forward. Indeed, I will publicly recognize the courage that it will take to rise above the divisive voices clamoring on both sides of this issue, follow the law, and yet also show some humanity and allow this dog to live out his final years in peace in the US.
The North Country Gazette is asking supporters to email their support for a plea for the Royal Preogative of Mercy for Lennox. The Gazette offers a sample letter on their website. E-mails should be sent to:
Minister of Agriculture Michelle O’Neill; firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorney General John Larkin; email@example.com
There is also a Twitter trend planned for Lennox on Monday July 9th @ 10 AM EST.