UPDATE: Lennox will reportedly be put to death on July 9. On July 3 the Barnes family released a statement on the Save Lennox website saying they had run out of legal options for saving the life of their dog. Celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell has offered to pay for relocating Lennox to the U.S., and is currently working with the Barnes’ legal team to make this happen. A protest was held in Belfast on July 7, and another in New York City will begin at 10 a.m. on July 9 at the British Consulate.
After the Northern Ireland Court of Appeals rejected a dog mom’s final request last week to save the life of Lennox, her pet confiscated only because he was thought to be a “Pit Bull type” dog, animal experts including Cesar Millan have weighed in to express their disappointment with the decision.
In May 2010, Lennox was confiscated by Belfast dog wardens after an unannounced visit to Caroline Barnes’ home. For two years, Barnes fought to save her dog’s life. More than 127,000 people signed a petition asking the Belfast city council to release the dog. In leaked photographs, dog warden Alexandra Lightfoot, who testified that Lennox was aggressive and had tried to bite her face, can be seen with a smile on her face as the dog kisses her.
It was all to no avail. On June 12, a panel of three lord justices rejected Barnes’ final appeal.
Later that day, Millan, star of “The Dog Whisperer,” tweeted, “I know about the Lennox situation. It’s a decision I truly don’t agree with. My team is working to find a better solution to help.”
His Millan Foundation, which supports the rescue of abused and abandoned dogs, also tweeted, “The fight to rehome Lennox is not over. The Millan Foundation is working hard to find a solution to save Lennox.”
Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog” and a longtime Lennox supporter, tweeted, “It’s over. So bloody sad and unjust.”
In an update on the New Jersey SPCA’s Facebook page, Captain Rick Yocum wrote of the decision to put Lennox to sleep (PTS), “Actually putting an animal or child to sleep means turning out the lights, kissing them on the head and tucking them in nice and snug. PTS in this case will mean murdering an innocent pup who just because of his looks and possible breed was put in this unbelievable situation. Work is ongoing behind the scenes to yank Lennox out of that confinement. Please do not give up hope and continue to pray.”
Political figures have also voiced their dismay. “As a dog lover I am very unhappy with the outcome of this case,” Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson told the Belfast Telegraph.
He said he was involved in a similar case and had succeeded in stopping it from going to court. “As soon as it does it is out of the hands of politicians,” he said. “Politicians have no power to interfere with decisions of the courts.”
In the meantime, despite early rumors to the contrary, Lennox is reportedly still alive, and Barnes is considering further legal action.
A June 13 statement on the Save Lennox website says, “We take some comfort in the knowledge that we are not the only ones to be devastated by the recent ruling. We are in talks with our legal team and will make another statement in due course.”