A death row dog from Belfast looks set to be put down after his owners lost the latest stage in a marathon legal battle, it can be revealed.
Lennox, a six-year-old pitbull-type dog, was seized by Belfast City Council wardens almost two years ago.
Last year, a court decided that Lennox was a danger to the public and should be destroyed.
However, his owners, the Barnes family, have continued to fight a legal battle, arguing that Lennox is a much loved family pet and has never hurt anybody.
But last week, County Court Judge Henry Rodgers refused an application for a last-ditch appeal because he is satisfied Lennox's owner, Caroline Barnes, and her legal team had not established a point of law on which to make one.
Ms Barnes has worked tirelessly to spread the message of his plight worldwide via the Save Lennox campaign.
She insists the dog is an American bulldog cross and not a banned pitbull-type.
There are now 123,453 signatures on the petition to save the dog, who has been separated from Ms Barnes and her 12-year-old disabled daughter Brooke for 610 days.
The Lord Chief Justice Office of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said: "After considering the application by Ms Barnes and representations by Belfast City Council, Judge Rodgers on January 13, 2012 notified the parties that he had refused to state a case for the Court of Appeal."
As the County Court Judge has refused to state a case, Ms Barnes can apply to a judge of the Court of Appeal within a period of 14 days commencing on the date of refusal for an order directing the County Court Judge to state a case.
This latest revelation in the court battle, that has gripped international dog lovers as far as field as America, Australia and Canada, comes as online fans took to Twitter to 'Howl for Lennox' in an effort to highlight the campaign to spare his life.
Last night, Lennox's owners were unavailable for comment.
The next vital court date is January 26.
Story so far
Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council on May 19, 2010 after he was noted to be acting aggressively and knocked a dog warden to the ground by hitting her in the face with his muzzled jaw. Belfast County Court heard that Lennox was deemed to be a banned pitbull-type and posed a danger to the public. On September 30, Judge Henry Rodgers ruled that Lennox must be destroyed.