Lennox, a dog who was taken away from his family and locked up for two years because he looked like a pit bull, died today in Northern Ireland.
It is illegal to own pit bulls and dogs like them in Northern Ireland, as well as the rest of the U.K. Two years ago, the city of Belfast took Lennox from his family's home despite the fact that his family said he was an American bulldog and Lab mix.
Lennox's story became international once word got out about his tragic story. He has become a symbol for dogs and animal rights.
(For more background, watch HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell recap below.)
The dog was put down today after the expiry of a midnight deadline for legal appeals.
Several Facebook pages were created for Lennox, to spread the word about his story as well as to gather signatures to petition against his death.
The Lennox Campaign
Festival of Lights for Lennox
Free Lennox No Olympic Torch for Belfast
Pit Bulls Against MCD
The Lennox Campaign Page posted this official statement from Lennox's family, the Barnes:
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive 'some' ashes in the mail."
The two largest Northern Ireland veterinary associations said they believed the current legislation should change, according to the BBC.
"We feel that dogs should be assessed on their deeds rather than their breed and this is the root of the problem," said the association. "Our associations have continually made our views known to government on the Dangerous Dogs Legislation, however, it is also important that the public is adequately protected from genuinely dangerous dogs."
The Belfast City Council today issued this statement regarding Lennox's death:
"Belfast City Council confirmed today that the dog Lennox, an illegal pit-bull terrier type, has been humanely put to sleep. This was in accordance with the Order of the County Court which was affirmed by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.
"Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type (pit-bull terrier type) may be admitted as an alternative to destruction, there were no such measures that could be applied in this case that would address the concerns relating to public safety. The Council`s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.
"Over the past two years, Council officials have been subjected to a sustained campaign of abuse including threats of violence and death threats. The Council has been in ongoing contact with the PSNI in relation to that.
"The Council regrets that the court action was necessary but would emphasise that the safety of the public remains its key priority."
HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell recap below:
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