Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Can you help bring Lennox home?


A campaign has been launched to save the life of a young dog seized in Northern Ireland under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Five-year-old Lennox, an American Bulldog cross, was taken from the Barnes family home on the 19 May this year. 

Lennox was declared a Pit Bull when a dog warden visited his home to deliver his dog licence. Lennox’s owner, Caroline Barnes, has learnt that this has recently become routine for Belfast City Council wardens; rather than post dog licences to owners of bull breeds, they hand deliver them.
Lennox is insured, microchipped, neutered, DNA registered and has been licensed with the council since he was a pup. Caroline said, “Had we not licensed Lennox then the council would never have known about him and he would still be at home with us now, curled up in front of the fire and not laying in some unknown cold concrete council kennel somewhere.”

The Barnes family are in complete turmoil having not been allowed to visit their dog for six months. They do not even know where Lennox is. Caroline has lost two stone and has had to go on antidepressants, and Brooke, her 12-year-old daughter who is registered disabled, has been so unwell that she has been unable to return to school. Brooke and Lennox were inseparable; on the days Brooke was ill Lennox would not leave her side, and would sit outside the bathroom when she was inside.
Lennox is extremely nervous around strangers and previously had not spent a night away from his family. Caroline has become used to carefully managing his stress but now has no idea how her dog is coping.
The council has confirmed that the kennels where Lennox is kept are manned for just four-and-a-half hours a day, yet Lennox has company for only ten minutes, when somebody comes to change his food. He will be locked away until his court case on the 23 November.

Caroline and her family are wholeheartedly appealing for support from fellow dog lovers.
There are a number of ways you can help. A petition that so far has been signed by over 6,000 people is available at http://www.petitiononline.com/sl190510/petition.html
Supporters are also asked to email Belfast City Council using the links on the ‘Save Lennox’ website (http://www.savelennox.co.uk), where there is a letter template available for download in a number of formats, too.
If you would like to show your support on Lennox’s Facebook page, which now has over 11,000 supporters, please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Lennox/125005200853097%20#!/pages/Save-Lennox/125005200853097
Caroline said, “Having Lennox back home would be amazing, especially for our daughter, who he has grown up with. The feeling of separation that Brooke is experiencing is not helping her already complicated illness; a little innocent child shouldn’t have to deal with these emotions at such an early age.
“If Lennox was home it would end this nightmare, and it would be a celebration for all the hard work carried out by our supporters.”

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. Belfast City Council used a warrant to seize this dog that not only wasn't for Lennox, but was also for a completely different address in Belfast. They are condemning him for being a type. If we all adopted this attitude then all people from Belfast would be IRA!!! Blame the deed, not the breed, look at the hand that's holding the lead!

Thank you again,

Sarah Chapman - FREE LENNOX STALLWART!

Chapstaff said...

"They are condemning him for being a type. If we all adopted this attitude then all people from Belfast would be IRA!!!"

Excellent analogy, couldn't agree more.

About to sign petition & send a letter.

Julie Arnold said...

'Type' - ridiculous - could be anything, done totally on looks, doesn't matter if you have pedigrees and/or proof what breeds your dog is - if it 'looks' wrong - you've had it!
Doesn't even matter if your dog, like poor Ginger [ http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/325/864/958/ ] is the Victim of an attack, OR has their Good Canine Citizen Award - none of it matters if your lovable mutt looks wrong. Breed Specific Legislation is all wrong - Pitbulls are actually excellent dogs - they are used as service dogs in the United States, and their jaws are not constructed any differently to those of any dog.

Anonymous said...

This is just the normal procedure for when a pitbull type dog is seized. They never say where the kennels are because people try to raid them to bring their dogs home.
During the period when he is being held, he will be assessed for temperament.
Even proper pitbulls can be returned to their owners if they pass the temperament test but they have to be neutered, have some number tattooed on to them, and I think the owner has to muzzle them when out in public. There are a list of conditions that have to be adhered to.
But it does happen - they are quite often returned to their owners.
Lennox may well be a lovely dog but this mantra of "blame the deed, not the breed" really is rather dishonest.
Do the people who say it sincerely believe that all dogs are the same, only looking different?
If so, that would make nonsense of all the selective breeding that has resulted in dogs with very different skills and temperaments.
For example, the border collie is the result of selecting for the herding instinct, which is why it often nips at children's heels. It also has amazingly good eyesight.
My spaniel doesn't have to be taught how to nose out game and when he finds it, he doesn't hurt it - that's the result of breeding for a good nose and a soft mouth.
In the same way, Pitbulls and Staff-type dogs have been bred to attack - and kill - other animals, unfortunately other dogs.
They have been bred to be efficient fighting machines.
It doesn't mean they all do it but it does mean that they are more likely to attack than other breeds, even if at the same time they can be good with children.
I am lumping Staffs with the pitbull, because from a dog's point of view, they are every bit as dangerous.
Anyone who doesn't believe me should try living in South London with an "ordinary" dog. You'd find it hard to keep him or her safe.
Last week I witnessed incidents with Staff-type dogs on three consecutive days.
One attacked a Labrador it was playing with, another turned nasty when playing with my spaniel, the third latched on to a dog's nose and wouldn't let go. It would have killed him if my friend hadn't helped prise him off.
We need to see through the political correctness whereby all dogs are viewed as the same.
Julia Lewis

sian morton said...

I am very anti breed specific legislation and I don't think it is dishonest to believe that judgement should be made on deed and not breed. I understand and agree with some of the comments made by Julia on here. Dog breeds do have specific "talents" and are bred for them, although guarding is completely different from fighting. However, the point I wish to make is that people who are anti BSL are in favour of responsible dog ownership. It is your responsibility to find out and know everything there is to know about your breed or whatever type of cross it is. You should know your ow dog and it's personality, frailties and any issues it might have. Spend the time training, exercising, disciplining and loving. That is what makes stable, balanced, controlled dogs not a law that discriminates according to measurements. We have a ten year old shar pei who is gentle, placid, calm, happy and friendly and we spent a year investigating the breed and a further six months selecting the right breeder and puppy for us and our life. He was trained and socialized properly and still has training during his walks every day, as a reminder. He is of a breed known as the Chinese Fighting Dog. He spends time with other animals and has never exhibited aggression of any kind but I know what he is capable of and I have full control of him at all times. I also live in south London and have a big tough looking husband - please don't tar us all with the same brush. That is breed not deed to humans.

Anonymous said...

Sian,
I agree that people must research a breed and be responsible owners, but you are assuming that if you do the necessary training and socialisation, you will have a calm and unaggressive dog whatever the breed.
I wish it were so with the Staff-type dog.
I believe it is something in the genes of this breed that causes it to react the way it does. I met one the other day that had a delightful temperament and it's owner said she'd got it from a breeder that bred for good temperaments. So there obviously are good ones.
But too many are wired-up to explode with anger when they interact with ordinary dogs. What starts as play rapidly escalates into a fight. I can see why their owners constantly throw balls for them in parks to keep them diverted.
My previous dog was almost ripped apart by two staffs in an unprovoked attack. They came across a recreation ground to get at him. He didn't realise what was going on until they grabbed him.
One "latched" on to his shoulder and its owner had to stick its finger up under its throat to make it let go.
My friend's border collie was attacked by a Staff that grabbed her ear and held on. He had to go home to get a cricket back to whack it off. His dog died of shock three days later.
Several of my friend's dogs have been attacked by Staffs at one time or another.
And it's the same whether the Staffs belong to youths in hoodies or to people like you and me.
The Staff that attacked the Lab the other day belonged to a middle-aged, middle-class man, as did the Staff puppy that turned nasty with my dog.
My spaniel loves to stop to play with other dogs we encounter and she has a lovely time running around with them.
She can play endlessly with her spaniel friend and it never turns nasty.
But things are different when it's a Staff because they have such a short fuse.
This is an emotive subject and as you can imagine, I feel strongly because my dogs have had so many problems with them.
I once read a fascinating article in a dog magazine about some research into why the Staff behaved differently to other dogs, ie, why it didn't obey the normal canine social conventions. I wish I could find it again.
The conclusion was that it was to do with the way it had been bred.
If it was just a question of it being a bit fiercer, I wouldn't mind. It's the way it wants to fight to the death that really alarms me.
But that's why they are sought after by certain owners.
I can't now take my dog out after dark around where I live. It's too dangerous.
In the daytime, I drive her to Wimbledon Common where, on the whole, there are throughly nice, sociable dogs.
But you can't blame the Staff or the pitbull. It's us humans who have messed these dogs up.

Julia Lewis

sian morton said...

I take on board your comments Julia and am very sorry to hear that you and people you know have experienced such traumatic events. However, I would like to point out that I am not assuming that with the right socialization and training you get a calm unaggressive dog regardless of breed. I do think that it is necessary to do all these things and that it does affect the behaviour of an animal but what I meant by knowing your breed and individual dog is something different. If you know your dog is aggressive in play or to another breed or something can set them off then you take the necessary precautions. Your dog should be muzzled or walked on a lead only for the safety of others. If my dog exhibited or had been aggressive he would be exercised accordingly. That to me is what responsible dog ownership is about. My dog has been attacked several times, always unprovoked, on one occasion nearly losing his life and has not even fought back. The attacks came from a red setter, Jack russel, spaniel, Labrador and ridgeback/mastiff and several small fluffy dogs of indiscriminate parentage. The only common denominator was that each dog had an irresponsible handler at the time. I was told about the red setter, oh he does that all the time, the terrier was the vicar's dog and apparently he didn't have time to train him, the lab only attacked because my dog is a shar pei and he doesn't like them cause he can't see their eyes clearly (mine doesn't have an eye problem) and in other cases I was told to stop making a fuss cause it's only a little bite. The ridgeback handler never even got out of his seat in a pub garden while children were screaming all round him and my husband was trying to prise his dog off mine who just lay on the floor and wet himself with fear. The vet warned us that our dog may lose his good temperament cause of these incidents but once he recovered we researched and altered our training methods to help him overcome any fear he might have. Luckily he never suffered any emotional issues and is the friendly happy confident little dog we always had. I have since met up with the setter owner who's dog is still off the lead and I was told, keep your dog away cause you know my dog doesn't like him!! Some of my friends have staffies and they are lovely and play with other dogs beautifully and one has a staffy who has issues with other dogs and he is walked with the rest of us but on a lead and with a soft muzzle. I have a great deal of empathy with you and your experiences but my limited experience and those of my friends is the complete opposite which kind of proves my point. Everyone has different experiences and we should judge on an individual basis plus deal harshly with irresponsible owners.

sian morton said...

I take on board your comments Julia and am very sorry to hear that you and people you know have experienced such traumatic events. However, I would like to point out that I am not assuming that with the right socialization and training you get a calm unaggressive dog regardless of breed. I do think that it is necessary to do all these things and that it does affect the behaviour of an animal but what I meant by knowing your breed and individual dog is something different. If you know your dog is aggressive in play or to another breed or something can set them off then you take the necessary precautions. Your dog should be muzzled or walked on a lead only for the safety of others. If my dog exhibited or had been aggressive he would be exercised accordingly. That to me is what responsible dog ownership is about. My dog has been attacked several times, always unprovoked, on one occasion nearly losing his life and has not even fought back. The attacks came from a red setter, Jack russel, spaniel, Labrador and ridgeback/mastiff and several small fluffy dogs of indiscriminate parentage. The only common denominator was that each dog had an irresponsible handler at the time. I was told about the red setter, oh he does that all the time, the terrier was the vicar's dog and apparently he didn't have time to train him, the lab only attacked because my dog is a shar pei and he doesn't like them cause he can't see their eyes clearly (mine doesn't have an eye problem) and in other cases I was told to stop making a fuss cause it's only a little bite. The ridgeback handler never even got out of his seat in a pub garden while children were screaming all round him and my husband was trying to prise his dog off mine who just lay on the floor and wet himself with fear. The vet warned us that our dog may lose his good temperament cause of these incidents but once he recovered we researched and altered our training methods to help him overcome any fear he might have. Luckily he never suffered any emotional issues and is the friendly happy confident little dog we always had. I have since met up with the setter owner who's dog is still off the lead and I was told, keep your dog away cause you know my dog doesn't like him!! Some of my friends have staffies and they are lovely and play with other dogs beautifully and one has a staffy who has issues with other dogs and he is walked with the rest of us but on a lead and with a soft muzzle. I have a great deal of empathy with you and your experiences but my limited experience and those of my friends is the complete opposite which kind of proves my point. Everyone has different experiences and we should judge on an individual basis plus deal harshly with irresponsible owners.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sian
I'm so sorry your sharpei was attacked by all those dogs. That's terrible!
However, I'm glad he has not been affected by it. I've only met a sharpei once.
I have to say that in 15 years of dog walking on Wimbledon Common my previous dog was not attacked once, apart from once incident where he had to be rescued from a Rottweiler, but that was not serious.
My present dog, now 20 months, has had a peaceful time too, apart from a young Staff who started to get aggressive, but again we two owners speedily walked off in different directions to avoid anything happening.
It's where I live, on the borders of Mitcham, that the problems occur. Every other dog is a Staff.
Another Staff hotspot is Plumstead, where there have been some horrific incidents.
Anyway, enough of Staffs, but I wanted to say that I agree with everything you say about how important it is to know your dog and to take appropriate precautions.
Really the only point I wanted to get over was that while I know there are hundreds of lovely Staffs, they are more likely to cause problems because of the way they have been bred and because of the power of their jaws and the way they won't let go.
It's not a level playing field - a Staff taking on an ordinary dog has such huge advantages from the fighting point of view.
Anyway, my dog and I love our walks on the Common. We have such fun and I'm not letting my concern spoil it.
I'm just realistic about the threat posed. If people hadn't been around when my first dog was attacked, he would have been dead. My vet thought he was very lucky.
That's the difference, I suppose.

Julia

M4lic3 said...

Hi Julie,

First of all I feel you should know pit bulls were not bred to fight one another they were used as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, to drive livestock, and as family companions. In a study conducted by the American Temperament Test Society it was shown that the average score for all dogs was 82% and the American pit bull terrier scored 86% making them a far better pet than most dogs. Pit bulls act as they are brought up to act.If they are raised in violence and chaos that is how they will behave but in their own pack with a dominant pack leader they will never act out and attack on their own. Its the publics feelings about pit bulls which is a horrifying example of victim-blaming. These dogs have been the victim of violent behavior by the humans who raise them since the beginning of their breed and if anything we as humans bear the burden of making it up to them.
Do you have any idea what it takes to make the fighting dogs everyone is so scared of? They feed them of a diet of entirely raw meat and blood which is terrible for their bodies, they keep them in dark rooms away from other dogs in tiny cages, they taunt them and beat them, force them to run on treadmills for hours and hours a day with thick chains around their necks to build up muscle and initiate their predator instincts by trailing small weak animals in front of the treadmill to chase and then kill when they are done. They are mentally tortured and conditioned every hour of every day for months before they fight and we are scared of them. I am more scared of the people who exist in this world that could hurt a dog that much and feel nothing because they are the ones who are setting their dogs on people. Their dogs see them as a pack leader who makes all their decisions, its like giving a loaded gun to a psychopath and blaming the gun for killing people. On another note my American staffie was traumatized forever towards barking dogs by a lazy landlords jack russel that they allowed to bark at her all day until she was hiding in her kennel all day because this thing barked at her from every angle of our tiny garden. One day she followed me to my car and the creature attacked her and they got in a fight. The only reason we as owners looked bad for that was because Dallas was bigger but if it has been a bigger dog they would have been in the wrong, and even when I had my arm in her mouth to stop her biting, with 320 pounds per square inch of biting/crushing power she didn't even press down on my arm in the middle of a hectic dog fight. If it wasn't a stupid little dog I would have had grounds for the owners to put it down because it attacked my dog and took a chunk out of my finger. So its not just "fighting dogs" who can have a bad temprament and from personal experience (6 dog attacks) I say jack russels are more of a menace than staffies because when I was young I was nearly disfigured and blinded by a jack russel that bit me in my face whereas with Dallas you can flip her on her back, kiss her face, tug her ears, sit on her whatever and she will never ever even growl or put her ears back she just has a goofy grin all the time and thats anyone who comes to my house who can do that so I'll stick with staffies thanks.

Anonymous said...

ever looked at the makeup of Belfast city council ;-)