After a long and sustained campaign the unfortunate dog Lennox, allegedly a pit bull type, was humanely put to sleep this morning.
In defence of the decision an 'expert' declared that the dog was “...one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across." My feeling is that a dog, previously a loved pet, that is kept in confinement for two years might well display unpredictable behaviour. That poor dog was bound to be traumatised and terribly unhappy with his lot. Although I am not certain that Belfast City Council handled this situation as well as they might have, there is no doubt that they acted entirely within the letter of the law.
Although I know that many dog lovers will strongly disagree with me, I believe that the campaign to save Lennox actually damaged Lennox's chance of getting back to a normal dog's life. Just because so many thousands of people inundated Belfast City Council with emails and petitions does not mean that the Council can be forced to act outside the law. The law might not be fair to dogs of that type but it remains the law. The harassment of council employees was a disgrace and further worsened Lennox's very slim chance of reprieve. There is nothing simpler than dashing off an email or signing a petition. Just because hundreds, thousands or millions of people do so does not make a cause just or rightful.
There are huge amounts of people who work to help animals of every kind and I truly admire what they do but there are also fanatical animal lovers who go too far. They forget that human beings are animals too and deserve to be protected from dangerous dogs. I'm not saying that Lennox was a dangerous dog, I'm sure he was not, but there are people who keep and breed aggressive dogs, there are dogs bred to fight each other to the death and dogs bred to bait other animals. There are vicious dogs that attack humans, even sometimes killing or maiming children. So there must be laws to protect people and other animals. Lennox fell foul of those laws but that is not Belfast City Council's fault. It is more the fault of those people who want to breed and train dangerous and aggressive dogs.
Should one of my own beloved dogs be deemed dangerous and ordered to be destroyed I would not fight it. I would not start an internet campaign – I would be broken-hearted but I would accept it and I would want it done quickly before the dog's spirit was broken by a long confinement in a sterile environment.
Campaign by all means but campaign for the right thing. Get the law changed so that good-natured dogs that look like dangerous dogs are not put at risk and fight to make legislation stronger so that dog-fighting and all baiting 'sports' are eliminated for ever.