Shortly after the Belfast City Council (BCC) killed Lennox on Wednesday, it issued a statement saying, “The Council’s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.”
Belfast senior dog warden Sandie Lightfoot had earlier testified that Lennox “is a danger to the public and anyone around him.”
But in a leaked March 2011 video that shows Lennox being evaluated, the dog is behaving in a non-aggressive, playful manner. Lightfoot can be seen smiling and petting Lennox during the three-minute video, which was posted yesterday on lennoxsandielightfoot.blogspot.ca.
The man evaluating Lennox is animal behaviorist David Ryans, who had been hired by Lennox’s owner, Caroline Barnes, to perform an “unprejudiced” assessment.
He concluded that Lennox was not an aggressive dog. The BCC, however, chose to ignore his assessment and instead hired its own “expert,” Peter Tallack.
Canine aggression expert Jim Crosby has extensive experience evaluating “killer dogs.” On his blog yesterday, he provided a minute-by-minute assessment of Lennox’s behavior in the video.
Crosby’s conclusion? “At no time did Lennox show even the most remote aggressive response to this stranger, Mr. Ryans.”
In reviewing Tallack’s qualifications as the BCC’s choice for a dog expert, Crosby noted, “I am … a certified behavior consultant (he has no such training), have been certified as a professional dog trainer, and am trained and certified as a behavior evaluator by several organizations – and he is not. I have further, over the years, worked with, trained, and evaluated what are probably over a thousand Pit Bulls and other breeds prohibited in the U.K., certainly more than the BCC evaluator.”
Crosby provided excerpts of evaluations he had made of other dogs who had been considered to be aggressive. “Note that my written evaluations never use language such as ‘the most dangerous dog I have ever seen’ or any of the other nonsense that the BCC’s evaluator has used,” Crosby wrote. “Such emotional language has no place in a behavioral assessment.”
He added, “And frankly, if their evaluator thinks that Lennox was the ‘most dangerous dog’ he had ever seen, please come meet some off [sic] the guys I have handled and evaluated after they have killed humans. I have seen more dangerous Cocker Spaniels. Please, if you are to be considered a professional, try not to embarrass yourself with such twaddle.”
Here is the video – decide for yourself if Lennox appears to be a danger to the public.