Lennox was not a one-off case. Dogs are taken every day in the UK and USA because they “appear” to be a type of breed, regardless of temperament, training, or environment, and are deemed dangerous by the laws of that country/city/state based on that physical appearance.
They are then put into high-stress situations and assessed by “experts”, which often simply means measuring them to see if they meet the suggested breed-type guidelines. When behaviourists are involved, they are often using the old fashioned and outdated dominance/pack structure theories which can lead to wrongful conclusions when faced with a scared, stressed, and tired dog.
From my personal perspective, I wanted Lennox to be able to rejoin his family. Unfortunately, I never believed that would happen. Belfast CC followed the law only, and had no emotional investment or concern for the dog in their care through ignorance about dog behaviour and temperament, the effect of environment and health, and the true nature of what makes a “dangerous dog”.
Not only that, but Lennox suffered through over two years of kennelling, surrounded by strange people and strange dogs. Repeated exposure to stressful events and experiences changes the reaction and behaviour of dogs, especially when subtle calming signals and attempted avoidance is ignored. It would not surprise me to learn that Lennox had begun to exhibit some of the extreme reactions (growling, snarling, defensive barking, or even biting) that would typically receive an “aggressive” or “dangerous” label. But it is important to note that (if this is the case), Belfast CC forced Lennox into a situation where he felt those were his only options. Before he was taken into their care, he would not have reacted that way.
My dogs would not have coped with that situation. Each of my four dogs are sociable, well trained, affectionate, and often spend time in the company of thousands of other dogs and people at dog shows or other public events. My two older dogs (11 & 13yrs) would not physically have survived living in kennels for two years, let alone mentally. I fully believe my two younger dogs (6yrs & 10mths) would have ended up displaying ‘aggressive’ behaviours if they had been forcibly removed from my home and put into kennels for two years.
The only way we can save future dogs like Lennox is by educating ourselves and other people about dog behaviour, breeding, and training.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive “some” ashes in the mail.
Lennox was given sleep on 11th July 2012 by Belfast City Council.
LENNOX UPDATE (For the full backstory please click here) - Several sources are reporting the following:
- The Belfast City Council has denied requests to have Lennox moved to the U.S.
- The council has also denied the family’s request to see Lennox one last time
- The council has also indicated that the family CANNOT get Lennox’s body back after he is put to sleep
- It is rumored that Lennox will be put to sleep on Monday, July 9th or shortly thereafter
Many people and organizations are working until the last minute to get the Belfast City Council to reverse their decisions. It appears that the fight for Lennox will continue until the very end. Click here for more by Bonnie Snider at the examiner.com.
I expect everyone is kinda overwhelmed and/or fed up of links/photos/articles relating solely to Breed Specific Legislation from this tumblr.
I’ll be back to your regularly scheduled content from Monday (although that doesn’t mean I’m dropping the BSL tag completely!)
Why would a big dog organization that is all about a fun sport for all breeds of dogs dogs want to bring lots of dog people to a town that has kicked out or euthanized all the dogs of one breed?
… the fact is that it isn’t a safe place for a dog of that type to be. When not actually on the site, the dog would still be subject to the restrictive laws, and in danger if someone decides to confiscate first and ask questions later. Plus, by competing at the site, participants are supporting the community that has made and enforces this law.
USDAA selected a location for the 2012 Nationals which is subject to Breed Specific Legislation. If you are an agility competitor, with any breed of dog, should you be supporting this event?
Breed specific laws (also called breed discriminatory laws) … do not produce the intended result, which is a reduction in dog-bite injuries
Finally some US links on Breed Specific Legislation! It’s a worldwide problem.
The National Canine Research Council has some useful links on the Ineffective Laws page regarding research and articles on BSL.
DDAWatch is a Not for profit company, registration number 7393352, set up to help monitor “dangerous dog” legislation, to educate and assist those affected by it, while campaigning to find fair, workable solutions that can better protect the public without compromising the lives and welfare of countless dogs who have never acted dangerously.
Two years ago, in May 2012, Lennox was seized from his family home based on his appearance by Belfast City Council Dog Wardens. Lennox is an adult American Bull dog Labrador cross, who has never had any behavioural problems, has an excellent temperament, and has grown up around children. He is a much loved family pet, but because he meets the measurements of a “pit bull type”, he is deemed unsafe.
His family have battled to try and save him, taking as much legal action as possible to prevent his destruction. On July 2nd 2012, they have acknowledged there is nothing left to try through the courts. Lennox has been living in council kennels for two years and the family can no longer bear to leave him in this situation.
There is a very slim hope that Lennox may be able to rehomed in the USA, but if not, Lennox’s family will have to battle to be allowed to say goodbye to their dog before he is euthanised.
Breed-specific legislation is a law or ordinance passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws or ordinances pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds.
BSL is a problem for anyone who has any understanding of dog behaviour and dog breeding, because it doesn’t work.
It doesn’t prevent dog bites/attacks and it doesn’t address responsible ownership/breeding. It does create a system where healthy, good-tempered dogs are seized from homes based on their appearance by the authorities, and where people are quick to judge and react to dogs based on their appearance. It also creates a false sense of security; any dog is capable of harming a human. Any dog can be considered dangerous. It is responsible breeding and ownership that allows us to live and work with dogs, not the breed of the dog in question.
The UK specifically includes “pit bull types” on their banned list (Dangerous Dogs Act 1991), which means that the popular Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Staffie crosses (often rescues, so pedigree is not known) are often wrongly identified as “pit bull types”. The “pit bull type” is defined by a series of measurements of the dog’s body, and does not regard temperament, history, health, age, or environment. If the dog measures up, it is subject to euthanasia … unless the owners can successfully fight the decision in the courts.
This is not legislation that any dog owner should support. It doesn’t work, and it actively harms dogs who are safe.