Not too happy about this!!
Despite a global outcry from animal rights activists, a dog was put to sleep in Belfast, Ireland, on Wednesday because city officials said it looked like a “dangerous” pit bull.
The 7-year-old pug-nosed dog, Lennox, was at the center of two-year legal battle between his owners and the Belfast City Council. The city’s dog wardens seized Lennox in 2010, claiming he was a dangerous “pit bull-type dog,” according to the Associated Press. Pit bulls are illegal in the United Kingdom.
Lennox’s owners argued he was not only not dangerous–he was not even a pit bull. In court, Lennox’s owner, Caroline Barnes, said that the dog had never bitten anyone, but she would muzzle him around strangers.
The case sparked outrage among animal rights groups, inspired a “Save Lennox” campaign and an online petition that collected more than 200,000 signatures. Some–including celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stillwell–offered to adopt the dog in the United States, where pit bulls are legal.
But last month, a senior appeals court in Northern Ireland upheld a lower court ruling that called for Lennox to be put down.
In a statement, the city council said an expert “described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across,” and that it had no choice but to euthanize him. The council “regrets that the court action was necessary but would emphasize that the safety of the public remains its key priority.”
City council members said they have received death threats, part of what they called “a sustained campaign of abuse.”
“We’ve had dog wardens who had to leave their homes,” one Belfast City Council member told the BBC. “We’ve had petrol poured through letter boxes, we’ve had people named on the Web.”
On Tuesday, Lennox’s owners released a statement on their Facebook page, saying they were denied the opportunity to “say goodbye”:
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.
And even worse:
Lennox was murdered at 7am this morning, the family weren’t allowed to say goodbye, his family were refused to be allowed to be by his side.
Love you pup, you will forever be remembered for your bravery, the amazing people you brought together, and for those you helped.
You are loved sweet boy, run free, we will meet again someday, you will always be alive in the hearts of many who fought for you.
No longer at the hands of those that cause you pain.