As the Belfast family of death row dog Lennox prepare to mark his seventh birthday tomorrow, the next court dates have been set in the marathon legal battle.
So far Lennox, deemed to be a banned pit bull-type, has been separated from his owner, Caroline Barnes and her family, for 682 days.
He was seized by Belfast City Council wardens on May 19, 2010, and in September 2011 Belfast County Court decided the dog was a danger to the public and should be destroyed.
In response, Ms Barnes, a former veterinary nurse, vowed to continue her campaign to ‘Save Lennox’.
The summons to compel the County Court Judge to state a case for the Court Of Appeal was listed in the Civil Callover in Belfast on Friday.
Following this, a spokeswoman for the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland’s office confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph the case involving Ms Barnes and Belfast City Council has been listed before the Court of Appeal for mention on April 20 and for hearing on May 24.
The mention in April will be to ascertain if the parties are ready for the full hearing in May.
An online statement from the Save Lennox campaign said: “Our beloved Lennox will turn seven on April 1.
“Lennox was seized nearly two years ago, shortly after he turned five, and it seems an eternity since he's been away from us.
“We love you, Lennox, and are still fighting to get you back home.”
It also asks Lennox supporters to send birthday cards to the Lord Mayor of Belfast’s office and to take to social network Twitter on Sunday to post support for the campaign to free him.
The statement continues: “Thank you for supporting us and standing by our side in this seemingly never-ending journey to get our boy home.
“We are very grateful to the Lennox Army around the world.”
Lennox is being kennelled by the city council in the meantime.
Story so far
Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens on May 19, 2010, after he was noted to be acting aggressively. Belfast County Court decided Lennox, deemed to be a banned pit bull-type dog, posed a danger to the public and should be destroyed. Lennox’s owner, Caroline Barnes, is appealing this decision. Ms Barnes’ ‘Save Lennox’ campaign has won the support of 125,000 people.