Maybe you have heard about Lennox, the dog. The poor boy was taken away from his loving family simply because he looked like a pit-bull (there is a rather appalling law in the UK for racial profiling of dogs which restricts certain breeds called Breed Specific Legislation or BSL). He did nothing wrong, never bit anyone and brought only joy and love to his owners. Above all he was a guardian dog for a special needs child. Imagine that: He was killed on orders from the Belfast City Council (BCC) on July 11th even though independent animal behavior specialists, who saw videos of the dog, said that Lennox was not aggressive in any way, even when provoked by those who were supposed to "assess" him for aggressive behavior. For two years the family of Lennox fought for his life. In the end they lost. Some people say "Come on, it was just a dog, let it go" or "He's dead now, can we please move on?" I say: No, we cannot let it go and we certainly should not move on just like that. Especially since the BCC had other options than just killing the dog. People oversees would have been willing to adopt the poor fella but those options were never really considered.
Dogs are special to us humans. They are our oldest companions, a "man's best friend" as the saying goes. Dogs are the most caring creatures I have ever met. Mostly innocent and, while I am willing to accept that some dogs are born psychotic, I firmly believe that the vast majority of "dangerous" dogs are made dangerous by their owners. The family of Lennox doesn't strike me as the people who would raise a killer dog just for fun and giggles.
The city officials who were supposed to protect the people from harm did the exact opposite: They brought pain and suffering, taking a loved one from a family. I am deeply saddened and ashamed by their behavior and it quite frankly brought me to tears. I really don't care about all the haters who seem to be happy that another dog was killed and neither do I care about those who like to tell us that thousands of dogs die each day and no one mourns them. In one blog entry I read that sometimes caring about all of them is starting to care about one. I could not agree more. Unfortunately, I am unable to help all the dogs in this world but I know that I can do at least something for Lennox. I can write to the Belfast City Council to let them know how I feel about their decision. I can write to Channel4 who said they would investigate the matter if enough people wrote them. And of course we all can keep the memory of Lennox alive. Let us honor him and his family by demanding that we get the whole story from the Belfast City Council. How was the dog treated during the two-year stay in a kennel? Who was responsible for the final decision? Why did they ignore independent expert who testified that Lennox was not a threat to society? What I find most suspicious is that the family was denied their request to say goodbye to Lennox. They didn't even get permission to pick up his body for the funeral he deserved. They will get some of his ashes though. How very generous of them. Maybe, just maybe the dog was mistreated and those responsible wanted to destroy all evidence of the poor state the dog may have been in when he died. No, when he was murdered. Let's call it by its name. He was murdered (= the wrongful killing of an individual). Some would like to call this a "conspiracy theory" - but if those in charge had nothing to hide - why deny the family this last wish? Out of cruelty? Maybe. Unless they release all files, come completely clean and tell the whole story, we may never know.
I am angry, sad, tired, ashamed and extremely disappointed. One can't be around these fields as long as I have and not see some pretty disgusting stuff. Animals and humans being treated without respect and love, people hurting each other. But sometimes a story like this comes up and I feel a spark of the old fire, the one that drove me when I was much younger and more idealistic. I have not given up on my species yet (remember the late, great George Carlin? He apparently has and who is to blame him? Our capacity for hurting each other never ceases to surprise me) but I am getting there (as another great, yet still living poet once said: "It's not dark yet but it's getting there" - thanks Bob, you still know your philosophy).
Want to read more about Lennox and how he never had a chance?
This is a petition where you can sign to show that you protest against and disagree with what happened to Lennox. People all over the world have signed it already. Join us:
Also sign this petition please:
Write to the Belfast City Council if you are as "uncomfortable" as I am about this case:
And write to Channel4 to let them know that you want them to look into the case:
And in case you wondered, here is my Open Letter to The Belfast City Council:
Dear Belfast City Council,
I am writing you because of what happened to Lennox, the dog. Generally, I do not do this kind of thing (writing letters to people I do not know), mostly because I am too old and have seen too many cruel things happen to innocent humans and animals. I may not have given up on my species yet (as the late, great George Carlin had in the twilight of his life) but I might be getting there eventually. But when you take away a dog, who has done nothing wrong, from his loving family, treat him cruelly for any length of time (even a week would have been too much, let alone two years), it makes me rather uncomfortable and I really wonder why such a tragedy could happen here in Europe. If there is one thing that I have learned it is that most people I admire and respect always had a deep respect and love for all things living, especially dogs, who are probably the sweetest, most trusting creatures man has ever known. Rare is the dog who was born dangerous and that poor family who you hurt so much with your thoughtless actions against their lovely boy don't seem to be the kind of people to raise a killer.
Today I, like many others all around the globe, am sad and ashamed and it brings me to tears, literally, while I am writing these words. Lennox is dead, he will never be able to experience a human's gentle touch again, and never again will he bring joy to his loving family. That is because of you. Make no mistake - instead of protecting people you brought pain, suffering and a little more darkness to this world which has already known too much of that. That is a crime in my book. If not in yours then maybe you should reconsider your priorities. Lennox is dead and nothing can be done about that now. But he will not be forgotten anytime soon. I am sure his family will do anything, within legal limits of course, to bring those to justice who had any say in this matter and did not stand up for an innocent creature. You could do the honorable thing, admit your mistake, apologize and sincerely try to change the situation that led to this tragedy. This may earn you some respect. If you don't do it for me and the other people touched in a negative way by your actions, do it for yourself because I like to believe that being human still means something more than walking around, wasting oxygen and hurting people. Don't you?