Belfast Telegraph

Experts at odds on danger posed by death row dog Lennox

By John Mulgrew

A Belfast woman fighting to spare the life of her pit bull terrier-type dog has told a court she was “hysterical and had tears running down her face” as her pet was seized by council wardens.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard from Caroline Barnes who said she found it “hard to breathe” and “felt physically sick” as Belfast City Council dog wardens took away Lennox in May 2010.

The dog had been reported for snarling and barking at wardens.

Ms Barnes (35) of Disraeli Court, Belfast, was in court yesterday appealing an order for Lennox to be put down.

She was joined by several friends and family in court yesterday — there to show their support.

Sarah Fisher, a dog behaviour expert, gave evidence in the dog’s defence. Ms Fisher, who has 17 years working with dogs, said Lennox was a “friendly dog” who does “not pose a threat to the public” after examining the pit bull.

The court also heard from Peter Tallack, a retired dog handler with the Met Police for 26 years.

Mr Tallack described the dog as “a problem waiting to happen”, and said it had leapt four feet from a lying position as it lunged towards him as he left its kennel after an examination.

Ms Barnes, who worked as a veterinary nurse for six years, said that following two separate incidents in which her dog had been involved in stressful situations with crowds of youths, he had developed an anxiety around strangers.

A decision on the dog’s fate will be heard on Friday.

Background

Lennox was seized by wardens from owner Caroline Barnes’ home in May 2010, before being examined by experts to determine if he was a pit bull-type. A judge had ordered that Lennox was a danger and should be put down. His owner is appealing the order.

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