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Sunday, Apr. 26, 2015

Dark Days

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 10:03 PM

Lennox, the face of tragedy
I have come to realize in the past weeks that the term "Coming Out" can mean many different things. For me, it has come in the form of admitting that some of the dogs I have brought into the DOC Puppies for Parole program have been on the forbidden list. Are these dogs unworthy or bad? No, they are breeds that are misunderstood or labeled "undesirable". They are also the dogs most in need of the rehabilitation received in any program designed to address behavior and training.

In the world of rescue I am considered a heretic. This comes partly because I refuse to ignore the fact that all dogs of certain breeds are good just as passionately as I refuse to label all dogs of certain breeds as bad. When I meet and evaluate dogs it is on an individual basis. I use the tools of comprehension of dog behavior I have learned over the years to the very best of my ability. Even my critics will give the devil her due; I am very good at judging a good dog from a bad dog. This is a skill I have honed over the years because I have had to see too many good dogs die, while resources and homes are wasted on bad dogs.

Some of the most amazing dogs do fall into the stereotyped public perception of undesirable simply because of the way they look. This is a deadly trap for dogs of all breeds that may carry the stigma of media hype, large muscled bodies or blocky heads. Because too many people in positions of decision making are uneducated on dog behavior, both learned and genetic, these wonderful companions are dying by the tens of thousands.

This week canine advocates from around the world suffered a devastating loss with the decision of the high court in Belfast Ireland, to uphold a decision from two years ago, to kill a dog because he had the misfortune to look like a Pit Bull. At the time of this writing there has still been no definite confirmation that the travesty has been carried out but I think we all know in our hearts Lennox is dead.

Lennox was confiscated from a loving home because of the way he looked. Under the Dangerous Dog act, any dog displaying characteristics of the dreaded Pit Bull or any bully type dog, are illegal and will be confiscated and destroyed.

This was a dog that never threatened anyone or had any history of threatening behavior. He was in all actuality a Lab/American Bulldog or English Bulldog mix of some sort but it did not matter. He looked a certain way and despite pleas from his family and rescuers from around the world, killing him was the only solution for the Irish courts. No compromise was ever considered beyond allowing this dog to languish for years in a government facility while the ignorance of the uneducated was heralded as fact. I can only hope the authors of the Dangerous Dog Act are sleeping comfortably because I am sure there is a place in hell for anyone that considers killing what they do not know preferable to educating themselves.

My prayers and condolences go out to the family that fought so valiantly for their beloved pet. I look at my own dogs and can only imagine it would be easier to have my heart torn out of my chest as to have to face the pain they must now feel.

I also send out my love to the fellow champions of the targeted breeds around the world. We may have lost a battle but the war is far from done.

Go with God dear Lennox!




Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Tragedy for sure. When I cross the bridge I hope to meet him playing with the other lost treasures.

-- Posted by jpb2 on Wed, Jun 13, 2012, at 6:38 AM

You and me both!

-- Posted by Melanie Coy on Wed, Jun 13, 2012, at 8:17 AM

I too find this ruling bizarre. However as an Irish person, I feel obligated to point out that Belfast is in Northern Ireland,UK and not in the country of Ireland. The article points out that the decision is from the Irish courts. It isn't. The court comes under Northern Ire/British jurisdiction.Indeed, here in Ireland, we do NOT have Breed Specific legislation.

-- Posted by Murchal on Wed, Jun 13, 2012, at 10:55 AM

Murchal thank you for the clarification. The mention of Ire/British jurisdiction says it all. England is the birth place of the Dangerous Dog Act which is itself underfire in their courts.

This morning we have received an update on the referenced news stories; The court has granted a sort of amnesty to allow the family more time to argue their case. It may be that they will never be reunited with their pet but we can pray the dog is allowed to be removed from the jurisdiction to live out his life as ALL dogs should. This dog has deteriorated during his 2 year confinment. No living creature should endure what he has....hopefully the world will learn from his suffering!

-- Posted by Melanie Coy on Wed, Jun 13, 2012, at 12:38 PM

You do know that isn't a picture of Lennox? It's a library picture of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier!

-- Posted by Issy on Fri, Jun 15, 2012, at 1:21 PM

Yes I do but I love the photo and the dog seems to be seeing what we're all feeling....Would you prefer I publish the before & now photos of the dog they've had incarcerated for 2 years?

-- Posted by Melanie Coy on Sun, Jun 17, 2012, at 3:02 PM

Can someone explain to me how a great deal of attention is paid to an occasional famous dog, while essentially no mention of the million pits, just as deserving, who will be killed this year simply because most pit owners do not spay/neuter?

-- Posted by practicalone2 on Fri, Jun 22, 2012, at 11:26 PM


For some reason the public only becomes "active" when a high profile case grabs their attention. We live in a society that prefers to watch a train wreck. Don't believe that, consider how the public perceived Pit Bulls in general until the horrors Michael Vick committed came to light.

It seems the only way we can even open discussion on this topic is turn the light on the most blatant cases of ignorance.

You should particularly enjoy my latest post...

-- Posted by Melanie Coy on Sat, Jun 23, 2012, at 6:32 AM

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Melanie Coy
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Melanie Coy has been a pit bull fancier for 29 years. She's also been involved in obedience and other training and showing animals. Coy became involved in animal legislative issues in the mid-80s to dispel myths about the pit bull breed and fight against breed-specific laws. She advocates responsible dog ownership through training and educational programs, and helps shelters make dogs more adoptable.
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