UPDATE: Victoria Stilwell reported on her Facebook page that the Barnes family told her that as far as they knew, Lennox would be destroyed at 7 a.m. Belfast time on July 11. “I am sick to my stomach,” she wrote. ”This case was lost the moment Lennox walked out the door with the Belfast Dog Wardens two years ago. I am disgusted at the Belfast City Council’s inhumanity and basic common decency.”
Lennox, a Belfast family’s dog seized two years ago because he was determined to be a “Pit Bull Type” – a breed banned under the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act – may be euthanized this week if the Belfast City Council (BCC) approves it.
Ever since Lennox was taken away in May 2010, Caroline Barnes has fought to save her dog’s life. People around the world joined her efforts: More than 127,000 signed a petition asking for the dog to be released. The Save Lennox page on Facebook has more than 91,000 fans.
In leaked photographs, dog warden Alexandra Lightfoot, who testified that Lennox had a severe personality disorder and had tried to bite her face, can be seen smiling as the dog kisses her.
Nevertheless, on June 12, Northern Ireland’s highest court rejected Barnes’ final appeal to spare Lennox.
In an official statement on the Save Lennox website July 3, the Barnes family said their legal fight for their beloved dog was over.
“We are obviously distraught but have to consider the impact that any future lengthy legal battle would have on Len if we chose to go against the advice that we have been given,” they said. “We cannot subject him to any more as there are no grounds for a further appeal and we do not wish to prolong his suffering any longer by engaging in a battle that we simply cannot win.”
Animal lovers are not giving up the battle. A protest was held in Belfast on Saturday. UTV reports that participants came from the U.S., England and Dublin. Another protest organized by No Kill New York was held today in front of the British and Irish consulate offices in New York City.
Victoria Stilwell, celebrity dog trainer and star of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog,” offered to pay to rehome Lennox in the United States. She told MSNBC that as of Saturday, she has not received a response.
“Although I’ve previously given the benefit of the doubt about the BCC’s motives, I now fear that their collective decision-making has been clouded by personal and potentially vindictive reasoning while exhibiting an unreasonable obstinance to even exploring positive solutions,” Stilwell told MSNBC. “I sincerely hope they relent and accept my offer of an all-expenses paid, face-saving rehoming process for this poor dog.”
Earlier today, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson tweeted, “Spoke to Lord Mayor about Lennox. Suggested BCC should seriously look at re-homing option. Why exercise the Order if there’s an alternative?”
Stilwell later posted on her Facebook page: “Still no response or movement from the BCC today, but NI’s First Minister has publicly joined the calls asking them to let me take him to the US. Let’s hope the mayor and council are willing to listen to him.”