In Court – A Brief Review Of The Lennox Appeal Hearing

Day One Of Lennox Appeal Hearing – 16th September 2011

Laganside Courts - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Laganside Courts - Belfast, Northern Ireland

On the first day of the appeal hearing the court heard from three Belfast City Council dog wardens who were all involved in Lennox’s seizure. As the day progressed those within the court room listened and heard three different versions of events, three varying statements were given by the three wardens on the stand who all took an oath before giving their evidence.

The main focus of the day’s hearing was fixed on one particular dog warden who led the seizure of Lennox from his home in May 2010. On one occasion this warden was being pressed for an answer regarding an earlier video that the court had watched in which another member of Belfast City Council had quite clearly stated on the video that Lennox had “bitten someone who was here before” again pressed for an answer this warden was asked if Lennox had ever bitten anyone whilst in the care of Belfast City Council, the warden turned to the Barrister and finally answered “No.”

The Belfast City Council dog warden continued to be cross examined for a while but looking now quite anxious and irate giving her answers Judge Derek Rodgers finally called a halt to proceedings to allow for a short lunch break.

Again questions arise as to why these three dog wardens employed by Belfast City Council feel the need to give three variations of their statements and why one staff member was clearly seen and heard on a video played to the court room stating Lennox had bitten someone when all those involved knew this to be untrue.

The first day’s proceedings ended with only the Belfast City Council dog wardens taking to the stand. Judge Derek Rodgers asked for the court to resume the following Friday for a second day to enable all witnesses to take the stand.

Day Two Of Lennox Appeal Hearing – 23rd September 2011

Picture Source

The second day of Lennox’s appeal hearing heard from the remaining witnesses, Peter Tallack acting as expert witness for Belfast City Council, Sarah Fisher acting as Lennox’s expert witness and Ms Barnes, Lennox’s registered owner.

First to take the witness stand was Peter Tallack (Pictured) acting for Belfast City Council as breed identifier. Peter Tallack, an ex Metropolitan Police PC of 25 years who acted as a dog handler whilst serving as a PC until his retirement. Mr Tallack took the witness stand to be cross examined and as proceedings progressed Mr Tallack’s replies became more aggressive and agitated as he seemed extremely uncomfortable during which he continually fidgeted. In a bizarre outburst a flustered, blush faced Mr Tallack who was seemingly attempting to evade a question when being cross examined took from his pocket a handkerchief, wiped his face and brow several times, sipped from a glass of water before boasting to Judge Derek Rodgers “Your Honour I am sorry I cannot continue as people in the gallery are looking at me.” Before leaving the witness stand Mr Tallack implied that as Ms Barnes walks with a limp she should not own a dog of such size or strength, this comment was immediately halted by Ms Barnes Barrister who objected to Mr Tallack’s comment stating “You are not a medical professional and therefore you do not know my clients medical history.”

Picture Source

Next to take the witness stand was Sarah Fisher (Pictured) acting as Lennox’s behavioural expert. Sarah Fisher has many years experience working with all types of animals and is one of the UK’s leading professionals in animal behaviour. Sarah Fisher is also accredited as the UK’s highest qualified Equine and Companion Animal TTouch Instructor and runs the UK TTouch Centre that offers help in training, handling and rehabilitation of horses and companion animals. Sarah Fisher explained her findings to the court and also points of importance that had been raised in her assessment video that had been shown to the court on day one of the appeal. The court heard much expert evidence from Sarah Fisher regarding Lennox’s physical and mental condition and finished her cross examination by explaining that Lennox is a “friendly dog” who “does not pose a threat to the public” Before leaving the witness stand Judge Derek Rodgers took time to thank Sarah Fisher for her evidence.

Finally the court heard from Lennox’s owner. Ms Barnes took to the witness stand and when cross examined explained to the court and Judge Derek Rodgers how her Daughter and Lennox bonded from a very early age due to her Daughters ongoing health problems that stops her Daughter from playing outside like most normal children do each day, the court heard how Lennox has acted as a therapy dog for Ms Barnes Daughter. Ms Barnes continued by telling the court that since Lennox’s seizure by Belfast City Council that her ill Daughter has been distraught, lonely and not the same child and explained how Lennox’s absence has disrupted the entire Family’s everday life. Continuing to be cross examined by Belfast City Council’s Barrister Ms Barnes, who has other pets and also foster’s dogs, maintained that she would not have kept Lennox if he posed any danger. “Much as I love dogs and I have worked with dogs for over 20 years, my first priority is as a mother,” she told Belfast County Court.

Steven Molloy, Barrister for Belfast City Council, put it to Ms Barnes that Lennox deals poorly with stressful situations and strangers, “He’s waiting to go off,” he said. Ms Barnes replied: “No, he’s not waiting to go off. What you need to understand is that to Lennox a stressful situation is strangers forcing themselves physically on him.” Mr Molloy continued by claiming all the evidence pointed to the dog being dangerous and capable of attacking without notice but Ms Barnes insisted: “No, it’s not correct. All dogs have four legs, they all have teeth and they all have capabilities.”

Judge Derek Rodgers will give his decision on Lennox’s fate this Friday 30th September at Belfast Laganside Courts.


21 comments on “In Court – A Brief Review Of The Lennox Appeal Hearing

  1. As I have stated in previous blogs etc Mr Tallack wrote a report that quite categorically contradicts his statement that he gave in court. Maybe he should read what he wrote and refresh his memory. Some of his report reads in favour of cases like Lennox’s and he would therefore make a good witness for repealling the BSL.

    May be a good idea if the judge could read it too.

    with luv, hugz & kisses

  2. Lennox clearly poses no threat to anyone. He is being abused by anyone that would state otherwise. Prosecute them and send this poor dog back to the family that so badly need and want him.

  3. my life revolves around my 8 dogs and 3 children and Lennoxs life revolved around a child too and therefore he should be with the girl that makes Lennoxs life happy and lennox makes a special girl happy too,DO THE RIGHT THING AND REUNITE A VERY SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP<PLEASE DONT END IT!!!

  4. I am crossing everything that Lennox will be returned so they can be a loving, whole family again. Everyone, please send positive thoughts their way!

  5. The dog has done nothing wrong! It is like racial discrimination for dogs! The pic of him in his cage makes me want to cry! Why are dog’s being punished when some owners are responsible of neglecting to train and socialize their dogs properly? (I do not mean Lennox’s owners). Breed/racial discrimination is very dangerous, in human’s it is often called genocide, remember the Nazi’s?

  6. I have just heard that the case for Lennox was lost and no appeal will be allowed. We are all devistated beyond belief with this news – but for his family and this precious soul, this day has been absolutely tragic. There must be some way – some how, to overturn this ruling !

  7. Ask Her Majesty the Queen, a noted lover of animals, and Geoffrey Robertson QC to order Belfast City Council not to harm Lennox and to immediately return this innocent family pet – who has never bitten anyone – to the distraught disabled girl who needs him and who has been missing him for 18 mths. There is an international outcry about Belfast City Council’s wrongful seizure and abusive treatment of Lennox, who has been confined in a small concrete pen and isolated with his family not allowed to visit, and subjected to several ‘tests’ that were taunting to the extent of being cruel (Lennox was seen to be shaking in fear and physically injured when transported to be evaluated by leading dog behaviourist Sarah Fisher who considers him a friendly, good-natured dog – as does Victoria Stilwell who posted her own evaluation of how very flawed is the legal case against Lennox. Release this innocent dog now or those involved with face lawsuits, individually as well as Belfast Council, for damages and perjury which will be funded by Lennox and his family’s thousands of supporters around the world who are appalled and outraged by his treatment – and what his family has been put through by Belfast City Council, whose Lord Mayor has the power to intervene to stop this nightmare now by saving Lennox’s life and returning him to his family from which he was illegally removed by dysfunctional dog wardens who provoked him to growl at them when they lurked near his home acting in a way any dog would think is suspicious. Like hundreds of thousands of dog owners around the world, I am waiting to hear good news about Lennox today. Lennox is INNOCENT, his family is owed an apology, and he should be returned to them and removed urgently from Belfast Council’s pound and any contact with this dysfunctional dog warden who must be sacked for perjuring herself and ordering her staff to steal this dog from his fenced yard using an illegal warrant for her own clearly sick agenda. She is hated by supporters of Lennox not just internationally but also in Ireland, and would be wise to show the decency to do the right thing and come clean and contact the judge or local police urgently to inform them today that she lied about Lennox and that he is a sweet dog, or she may well find herself facing Troubles of her own making. The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Niall Ó Donnghaile (Sinn Féin) is seeking election to the Irish Parliament and it would be in his favour with voters that he exercises his authority to save Lennox’s life and return this traumatised dog to his equally traumatised family – failure to do so will result in a call for any international tourist boycott of Belfast, which won’t help his electoral campaign.

    • I enjoyed you posting on Lennox!!! One of the best I can say I have read. Boycotting Belfast by the international tourist would be only a start … The world is watching and waiting for them to do the “rightful” thing…. RELEASE LENNOX TO HIS FAMILY!! All have suffered enough, mostly Lennox!!!! SHAME HAS BEEN BROUGHT UPON BELFAST…. MUCH SHAME. You have the ENTIRE WORLD against you Belfast. ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! FREEEEEE LENNOX !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Jewel Rainbow, you are awesome for your posting. I hope you have the knowledge where you live to help as you posted well. You go Jewel Rainbow!!! You are on the right track to help Free Lennox. Peace to you and poor Lennox. God Bless ………… from the U.S.A. state of Kentucky… with love…

      • i agree with everything you said and Jewell Rainbow is absolutely correct. This dog needs to go home to his family,.

  8. To Jewel Rainbow, Queensland, Australia, I enjoyed reading your post and I hope it helps in saving Lennox. I’m still praying that Lennox will be returned home to his loved ones. My heart breaks for all involved. No animal should be put through this abuse, the conditions in which Lennox is being kept is inhumane and to not allow Caroline, Craig and Brooke to visit him is down right cruel to them and to Lennox! May God watch over this sweet dog and those who love him dearly. Hugs to you sweet pup ♥

  9. I was so sorry to hear on the news that Lennox was euthanized. Knowing something like this is so very unfair really bothers me, and I never had the pleasure of meeting Lennox. There are hundreds of thousands of people, probably millions, who will now resist breed-specific legislation because of how clearly their actions were biased and had no relation to the facts. When people react out of fear, they often stop being rational.

    I am very sorry the children and their whole family went through this. You sound like wonderful, responsible pet owners who were/are doing everything above and beyond what could be expected. I do hope you don’t let this harden your hearts. Our prayers are with your family.

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