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In the midst of worldwide outrage over the execution of Lennox the dog, Alexandra Lightfoot, the dog warden who testified that Lennox was “one of the most aggressive dogs” she had dealt with, has received a promotion.
Lennox, the sweet-faced black dog in Belfast, Ireland, was seized from his owners in April 2010 because he was considered to be a “pit bull type” dog and therefore a danger to the public. His owner, Caroline Barnes, argued that he was a bull dog labrador cross, not a pit bull terrier. Lennox had never attacked anyone, and Barnes even offered to move him to the United States, to an area that permits ownership of pit bulls.
A massive international campaign was started online to save Lennox. Over 200,000 people signed a petition to save the dog, who was kept in a shabby municipal dog pound while a two-year legal battle waged on. After the Barnes family had exhausted every legal avenue to bring their dog home, a final court ruling upheld the decision of two lower courts to destroy Lennox under the Dangerous Dog Act.
Lennox was euthanized on July 11, 2012 without officials informing his family. The council had rejected Barnes’ request to be present when Lennox was put to sleep and instead opted to mail his ashes to them.
Prior to Lennox’ execution, Alexandra “Sandie” Lightfoot took the stand and testified under oath that Lennox was “one of the most aggressive dogs” she had ever seen, and testified that she was scared to be around him. But – video captured one year after Lennox was seized, shows Ms. Lightfoot holding and petting Lennox during an assessment by dog behaviorist, David Ryans:
Ms. Lightfoot’s involvement in the case has been questioned, not only by the Barnes family but also by thousands of Lennox supporters. Lightfoot has been accused of perjury in the case and a petition signed by 15,000 people asked that she be removed from her position as a dog warden.
It seems, however, that Lightfoot may have already moved on. According to the minutes of a Meeting of the Environment and Borough Services Committee in April 2012, it seems she was given a promotion to Animal Welfare Officer in the city of Antrim.
Lennox supporters are again outraged by the news of Lightfoot’s promotion. The Barnes family has said they will not be giving up. In a statement by the Save Lennox Campaign:
Lennox’s Family Won’t Be Giving Up. The Family Are Taking Some Private Time To Mourn. The Family Pledge To Continue Their Campaign To End BSL. Lennox Won’t Be Forgotten Nor Will The Cruel Act Carried Out By Belfast City Council.
The Official Lennox Campaign Website Is Currently Offline & After Some Modifications Will Soon Be Relaunched.
Again The Family Thank All Supporters Around The Globe For Their Countinued Support & Hope That You Will All Continue To Fight Alongside The Lennox Campaign For An End To BSL.
Victoria Stillwell, star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog, had offered to adopt Lennox, and is irate over the handling of his case. She posted this angry message on Facebook several hours after Lennox was killed:
I am so disgusted and want everyone to know how low Belfast City Council have stooped. The Barnes family heard about the death of their beloved dog through me because I had been told by a source at BBC Radio Ulster. After what the council put the family through they didn’t even have the decency to inform the family first before everyone else know. Someone involved in this mess needs to lose theirjob. If this is the way they represent their citizens then Belfast beware. Belfast City Council should hang their heads for the shameful and insensitive way they have handled this. Heartless doesn’t even begin to describe the people surrounding this case. Appalling and I can assure you, this will NEVER be forgotten!
and another message the following day:
I want to know why Belfast City council won’t give Lennox’s body back to the family and why they won’t even return his collar to Brooke even though they were asked to do so by the family so that she could have something to remember him by. There is something corrupt going on and an independent review of the council’s actions in this case needs to be done. I want answers. Why not return the body? Was Lennox even still alive and what physical condition was he in at the time of his death? We already have evidence of his poor physical state during Sarah Fisher’s behavioral evaluation of him last year. Hair loss, sores on his body,a hurt neck and damaged paw. The council have many questions they need to answer because I think they have something to hide.
Killing Lennox has definitely caused a stir of anger among the public. Requests for investigations into the handling of his case have been flooding in. Campaigns are springing up all over the internet, including a Facebook campaign of people posting images of their dogs, posing with the words, “I am Lennox.”
As further details continue to emerge regarding Lennox and his treatment by the BCC, the more disturbing it becomes. What are your thoughts on the Lennox case?