Last night, Lennox the dog was killed in Belfast.
Lennox was taken from his home because he was declared to be illegal under the UK's ban on four breeds of dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers.
Lennox's ownes fought for two years to save him -- saying that he was not a banned breed but an American Bulldog/Lab mix. But in the end, the government in Ireland sided with him being illegal, and we was killed, after 2 years alone in his holding cell.
Lennox's deathwas the worst kind of death. He wasn't in need of a home. In fact, he had loving, caring owners who fought for two years for him (after most would have given up hope). In addition to this, there were hundreds of people who stepped up to help, and even pay to tranport him to the United States to live out his years. There is no indication that he had behavioral issues that made him a threat to anyone. He wasn't guilty of even running loose.
At the end of the day, he was killed because of how he looked, and nothing more.
The world is angry at the Belfast government now, and justifiably so. The story has made international headlines. And people are angry that a loved and loving dog could be killed for no reason at all. I understand the anger. It is more than justified.
But once the shock of the government in Belfast ignoring pleas to spare Lennox's life have passed, I want people to understand something important in this case:
Lennox's story is not unique.
While Lennox's story has made the national headlines, and his owners waged a huge campaign to save him, Lennox's story plays out in communities throughout the United States daily. Daily in this country, because of a city's breed ban, a perfectly good, loving dog is taken from a home and killed for no reason at all: not to improve public safety, not because they don't have a home, dogs are killed simply because of the way they look; just like Lennox.
For all the passion that went behind Lennox, all of these other dogs deserve it too. The governments that continue to round them up and kill them needlessly -- like in Denver, Ontario, Miami, Overland Park, KS; Independence, MO; Springfield, MO; Council Bluffs, IA; Winnipeg and other communities throughout the country deserve the same passion against their breed-specific ordinances as the folks in Belfast. These dogs need our support too.
The channeled passion against Belfast made Lennox's story an international story -- and an embarrassment to many in Northern Ireland. If we harness the passion for dogs like Lennox, we do have the power to enact changes in ordinances like this throughout the country by making the stories of these dogs, the injustices against them, more public.
Lennox is one dog. A loved dog. A critical life like many others. But let's not let his death be in vain and let his story and face be the face of this same injustice elsewhere.
We can do this.