Ernest Dempsey — The widely talked-about case of the dog Lennox in Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK), once again invoked concerns and condemnations of the mockery of justice as the most senior judges in Northern Ireland upheld the death sentence for the dog, as decreed by precious courts. The highest court’s decision was reserved last month and was finally announced on June 12 with the BBC story quoting Lord Justice Girvan of the Appeals Court that the judge is upholding the death sentence for Lennox after carefully considering the evidence.
This brings the most basic and important question again to our attention. What evidence there actually is against Lennox; on what basis has Lennox been marked as a dangerous dog? All that the Belfast City Council (BCC) has as ‘evidence’ is their own, subjective perception about the dog – that he is a pit bull and hence dangerous. But how do they even prove that Lennox is a pit bull when he is not listed as a pit bull at all but a lab/American bulldog mix. On the basis of this testimony by the BCC, the dog has been in prison for over two years and has been sentenced to death by the highest judges. No wonder that the ignorance this reflects on behalf of the BCC as well as the judiciary in Northern Ireland has created a scattered wave of condemnation on different continents.
And if that was not enough, some media workers in Belfast are literally playing with the emotions of people supporting Lennox. A reporter from Belfast Telegraph, the paper which offered an apology to BCC over publishing an article in support of Lennox and questioning his arrest, recently did another stunt in this story by answering a call from a Lennox supporter and misinforming her that Lenox was killed. Hence a letter of condemnation against the paper from Prudence Halliwell who has been following the Lenox story and telling her own account of how BCC harassed her.
Objectively speaking, there is no evidence against Lennox to prove him dangerous. He never attacked anyone and has no history of aggression. All he has been is a victim of abuse by the BCC and injustice by the courts. Given that Lennox is not only a beloved and friendly family pet but also the emotional support for a disabled child in the family, his captivity in an unknown place (and usually the authorities only do it to dangerous terrorists) is shocking. Lacking any evidence and yet ordering a harmless dog to death is like inviting ridicule; for a court should be hearing cases of real criminals. Is that the best judiciary in Northern Ireland can do?
At some point, people say enough is enough. And that point appears to have arrived now for the family owning Lennox. They are yet to make an official statement as to where they will take this fight now. One thing clear to Lennox’s supporters is that any authorities in Northern Ireland—administrative, executive, judicial—are devoid of any sense of justice. If Lennox is to get justice—and this is the last chance—the case must be taken out of Northern Ireland and to the higher judiciary or authorities in England. We can only hope that what happened to Otis doesn’t happen to Lennox.