The owner of a dog on death row has vowed to get her daughter’s pet released in time for Christmas.
The 34-year-old mother was in court yesterday to try to stop her dog being destroyed under the Dangerous Dogs (NI) Order in a case taken by Belfast City Council.
But the case was adjourned for a fortnight as Caroline Barnes, from Disraeli Close in north Belfast, applied for time to change her solicitor.
Her dog Lennox was seized by dog wardens in May and has been held ever since in a pound. The council argues it is a dangerous pit bull terrier.
But Caroline, a former veterinary nurse, denies Lennox is a banned breed, insisting it is a cross between an American bulldog and a Labrador, crossed with a Staffordshire bull terrier.
While Caroline is the registered owner, the dog is her 12-year-old disabled daughter Brook’s pet.
Caroline said: “The only thing on Brook’s Christmas list is to have her dog back.”
Yesterday, the public gallery at Belfast Magistrates Court was packed with well-wishers who have backed her campaign.
A barrister for Belfast City Council told Magistrate Ken Nixon that it would be better to proceed as quickly as possible with the case as the dog is being held in a pound.
But Mr Nixon ruled that Caroline should have two weeks to instruct a new solicitor.
Afterwards Caroline was surrounded by Lennox supporters who praised her battle to save the dog.
The case had taken a sinister twist with the two female dog wardens involved subjected to a campaign of intimidation.
Threatening letters, including one drenched in petrol, were sent to the wardens’ homes at the weekend and car tyres were slashed.
However, Caroline distanced herself from those behind the threats, saying it was “not the sort of support we want”.
The case has been rescheduled for mention on December 7 at Belfast Magistrates Court.