Posted on 11 Jul 2012
By: Marilyn Ramos
For anyone who spends any amount of time on Facebook (or any other social media site) you have no doubt heard about Lennox and the “Save Lennox” movement. I’ve had no less than 15 friends over the last two weeks post about Lennox, link to newspaper/TV stories about Lennox, asked friends to pray for Lennox, etc. You get the picture. The story of Lennox and his plight have gone viral.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you are probably wondering who is Lennox and why is he so important. Well, Lennox is an American bulldog/Labrador mix in Belfast, Ireland sentenced to die on July 12, 2012, for the “crime” of looking like a pitbull. In short, the United Kingdom has a dangerous dog law on its books known as the “Dangerous Dog Act” (“DDA”) and if a dog’s measurements meet a certain standard for “pitbull types”, he or she can be seized from a home without a warrant and put to death. The assumption is that just looking like a pitbull means the dog will behave badly, either now or some time in the future so he or she must be killed.
Lennox was taken from his home in May 2010 despite not having had any complaints lodged against him. In fact, Lennox not only served as a family companion but he also served as a therapy dog for a disabled daughter in the family.
To add insult to injury:
1) Lennox wasn’t even the original target of the warrant (the “dog police” mistakenly went to the wrong address and poor Lennox’s life was never the same again);
2) the DDA was amended recently to incorporate additional criteria that the dog at issue must also be proven dangerous. Unfortunately, Lennox is still being held prisoner because he was seized BEFORE the amendment went into effect so the fact that he’s never been proven dangerous is a moot point; and
3) not once have the Belfast authorities permitted his human family to visit him during his two years of imprisonment (they won’t even tell the family where Lennox is being held).
One is never really sure why a story goes viral but in this case, Lennox has gotten the attention of celebrities all over the world (even Cesar “the Dog Whisperer” Millan has offered to bring him to the United States) and has been the subject of numerous petitions seeking his release.
Incredibly, high ups like the Minister of the Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the First Minister of Northern Ireland have been brought into the mix. Even a last ditch effort has been made with the Queen, seeking a “royal prerogative of mercy” for Lennox. If they are not able to save Lennox, then his family is demanding to at least have the right to say goodbye. As they eloquently stated, “We cannot bear the thought that Lennox will die without being reminded of the hearts and hands that love him.”
Now if that last line didn’t bring a tear to your eye, you aren’t human!
But why write a blog about Lennox? Well, this blog isn’t really about Lennox. This is about the billions of other animals who are just like Lennox but who don’t garner as much attention.
Where is the pardon request for the beagle suffering in an animal lab testing facility?
Where is the outcry for the calf taken away from his mother after only a few hours and sold off to the veal industry?
Where is the petition seeking to free the bull about to be killed in the bullfighting ring?
Now, granted, many animal advocates do all of the above on behalf of animals. However, the plight of the average animal does not get the attention of the average person. The average person does not advocate for ALL animals.
I’m happy for Lennox and his family that their story is being told; however, I am always astounded at the disconnect people have to other animals who suffer as much if not more than Lennox. I spent some time reading the comments by people who were outraged by Lennox’s story and cared enough to comment on a newspaper article or comment on a Facebook posting. Why Lennox though? Why this dog? Why not express the same compassion and concern for other animals?
I think about the time that millions throughout the world have taken to speak up for Lennox; however, the overwhelming majority of these people ate animals today and wore animals today. After signing a petition on behalf of Lennox, they may have had bacon for breakfast, put on their favorite leather shoes or bought tickets to the circus. Totally unphased by the hypocrisy they have just participated in.
I ask, again, “Why Lennox?”
If Lennox doesn’t make it beyond July 12th, then I hope that his passing is not in vain. I hope that maybe, just maybe, his plight and the overwhelming concern the world has given him will have opened the eyes of some who might also ask, “Why Lennox?” Then perhaps they’ll go one question further and ask, “Why not every other animal?”.
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