Owner of death row dog Lennox tells of her family’s agony
The heartbroken owner of a pet dog which has been living on ‘death row’ for six months is still waiting to learn its fate after it was seized because it was deemed to be a dangerous breed.
Caroline Barnes said that six-year-old Lennox is a cross between an American bulldog and a Labrador crossed with a Staffordshire bull terrier.
However, staff from Belfast City Council called at her home in May, using what she alleges was a warrant for a different address, and impounded him after he was deemed to be a banned American pit bull terrier-type because of his leg and muzzle measurements.
Ms Barnes (34), a former veterinary nurse from Disraeli Close, says Lennox is neutered, licensed, micro-chipped, insured and DNA registered, lived peacefully with her other dog, was always leashed, muzzled and never allowed to roam unattended.
An online support campaign has received tens of thousands of messages of support, while his story has been covered extensively in the canine press as far away as the USA.
A recent undercover picture released to the family by a wellwisher supposedly showing Lennox in council kennels has worried the family even more.
Ms Barnes’ 11-year-old daughter Brooke, who is registered disabled, is said to be ‘very upset’ at the sight of the house pet sitting in a concrete kennel block on a covering of sawdust.
A court case is to be held on November 23 to determine whether Lennox is a banned breed.
A court summons was again, Caroline says, made out to the wrong address.
“Illegal dog breeds cannot be licensed or insured — Lennox has been insured since he was eight weeks old and Belfast City Council accepted my money to license him every year,” said Caroline.
“We have a DNA sample to prove he is not a pit bull, but apparently the parentage of the dog does not matter as long as it fits the measurements.”
Ms Barnes said that she was concerned about Lennox’s wellbeing: “We have not been allowed a visit or for our vet to visit him in confidence,” she said.
“We’re not sure, if we ever do get him back, how he will react after being isolated for months. My daughter Brooke can’t cope and is on a waiting list to see a counsellor.”
A council spokesman said that while he couldn’t comment on Lennox’s individual case because of legal proceedings, dog wardens acted “within the law”.
“The council doesn’t make the law; it is merely the enforcing authority,” he said.