It is with a very heavy heart that I write this.
Although Lennox the dog lived across the ocean and I’d never met him, I shed a lot of tears this morning when I heard the news. Lennox was put to death by the city of Belfast simply for looking like a pit bull. His owners maintain he is a lab/boxer mix, but this doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter that they were responsible owners, that Lennox never did any harm to anyone, and he was a loved and loving FAMILY PET. He was forcibly removed from his home and held for TWO YEARS as his family and others around the world fought and petitioned for his release.
Today, after many legal attempts, vigils, protests, petition campaigns, letters, emails and phone calls…Lennox was euthanized. SIMPLY FOR LOOKING LIKE A PIT BULL.
That’s right–in several places throughout the world an animal control officer can just believe your dog looks enough like a pit bull and that is all the reason they have to keep the dog, put you through legal and emotional turmoil, and then–if they have their way–kill your dog.
And why? Because there is a fear that these dogs are somehow inherently violent and capable of hurting people. This is FALSE. Any breed of dog can be made violent through a human‘s actions. We are responsible for them.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) has been in place for a long time now in the city and county of Denver, so it’s not just something happening in Ireland or other parts of the UK, or even other parts of the U.S.–it’s happening in our own backyards. Colorado is viewed as a “dog-friendly” state but when cities and municipalities have BSL in place…it’s hard to really stand by that “dog-friendly” image. In fact, thousands of dogs have been put down as a result, automatically, because they look and possibly are pit bulls. (Warning–link has graphic images.)
Today, I want to take the time to write this so people understand what is happening, that it is wrong, and that it needs to stop. Instead of BSL, we should have guidelines and enforceable laws for responsible ownership.
Dogs give us so much–some provide therapy, others do work to protect us in the police squads and military outfits, and they are able to do things for us that are simple but irreplaceable, like provide us with unwavering, unconditional love. Right now we’re singling out pit bulls and those who appear to be pit bulls. It used to be German Shepherds, it used to be Dobermans. I totally remember seeing scary things about Dobermans growing up. When will we realize it is us, and not the dog or the breed of dog?
Let’s take a moment today to give extra love to our dogs, to be thankful we have them…in honor of Lennox who loved his family, and they him…and also take time to educate each other, contact our officials and ask that they stop passing BSL. It never ends up protecting us. Instead, it just leads to more ignorance and death. We can’t allow this to continue.
Owner, Delightful Doggies