Belfast Telegraph

Court date set for final attempt to save Lennox

By Amanda Poole and Alan Erwin

A final legal bid to spare the life of Belfast’s death row dog Lennox will go before Northern Ireland’s most senior judges next month.

Caroline Barnes’ seven-year-old pet dog, deemed to be a banned pitbull-type, was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens in May 2010. He has remained in a secret location since then.

In September 2011, Judge Derek Rodgers at Belfast County Court said it was the “duty of the court to put public safety above anything else”.

He dismissed the appeal case, upholding the original decision that Lennox posed a danger to the public and must be destroyed.

Lawyers for Ms Barnes, a former veterinary nurse, are challenging the County Court decision.

Their case against Belfast City Council was mentioned yesterday at the Court of Appeal to ensure both sides are ready. Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan told legal representatives the case was listed for May 24.

He confirmed half a day has been set aside for judges to hear the arguments.

Since May 2010, Ms Barnes’ ‘Save Lennox’ campaign has attracted considerable attention from dog lovers across the world. So far, 127,097 people have signed an online petition calling demanding that Lennox be released.

There are 51,003 fans of the campaign’s Facebook page 6,560 Twitter followers.

There have also been candlelit vigils in support of the dog and a Christmas single called Jingle Bells For Lennox was recorded by Maria Daines and Paul Killington last year.

The full cost of the legal battle will not be known until the court case has concluded. However, it is expected to exceed £20,000.

Last night, a Belfast City Council spokesman said: “Lennox continues to be kennelled and cared for by us pending the outcome of ongoing legal proceedings.”

Story so far

Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens in May 2010. Belfast County Court decided the dog, deemed to be a banned pitbull-type, posed a danger to the public and should be destroyed.

Lennox’s owner, Caroline Barnes, is appealing this decision. The ‘Save Lennox’ campaign is supported by more than 127,000 people.

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