Jim Crosby on the Lennox Tragedy

Earlier I mentioned a travesty in Northern Ireland; Belfast, to be exact.   For those who haven’t heard, a Labrador-American Bulldog mix was seized by Belfast officials from his home simply for having measurements that made him look like a pit bull.   Lennox had no history of aggression & his owners had had him neutered, microchipped, insured, registered, & even DNA certified from puppyhood.

Lennox’s family petitioned for an exemption, naturally.   After several postponements, they were denied.   They appealed.   They were denied again.   Lennox was incarcerated for over two years, & photos showed health issues & inhumane living conditions.   The family was not allowed to see him.

He was officially euthanized on July 11 in spite of expert testimony that he was not vicious, offers to rehome him outside of Northern Ireland all expenses paid, a petition of over 170,000 signatures, & a plea from the First Minister to show clemency.   The family was not even allowed to collect his corpse, in my opinion probably due to a need to cover up Lennox’s physical state at the time of death.   Or perhaps Lennox had already died.

Jim Crosby & Victoria Stilwell, two well known dog experts with behaviorist training & experience, both publicly declared Lennox to be non-aggressive.   Victoria Stilwell very publicly went to Lennox’s aid, even flying to Northern Ireland to offer the Belfast Council an all expenses paid rehoming for Lennox in the US (she was ignored) & writing many posts about Lennox’s situation.   Jim Crosby remained in the background until now.

In his post, Lennox: the gloves come off, he provides us with a very clear & straightforward perspective of Peter Tallack, Belfast City Council’s single “dog expert.”   As has been mentioned in previous articles, Tallack has no actual dog behavior or even dangerous breed training.

Let’s look at the “qualifications” of the only evaluation that the BCC or Court accepted.  The BCC “evaluator” is, admittedly, a former police Constable.  So am I, except that instead of being a Constable, the equivalent here in the US to a base Patrolman, I retired as a Lieutenant and Watch Commander, the UK equivalent of a full Inspector with the Metropolitan Police.  I am also a certified Behavior Consultant (he has no such training), have been certified as a Professional Dog Trainer, and am trained and certified as a behavior evaluator by several organizations-and he is not.  I have further, over the years, worked with, trained, and evaluated what are probably over a thousand Pit Bulls and other breeds prohibited in the UK, certainly more than the BCC evaluator.

Crosby’s post illustrates for us exactly how unqualified Peter Tallack is, then goes on to give examples of legitimate dog behavior assessment.   His explanation makes me wonder how it was even possible for any court to take Peter Tallack seriously.

Note that my written evaluations of Lennox, JoJo, and Helo never use language such as “the most dangerous dog I have ever seen” or any of the other nonsense that the BCC’s evaluator has used.  Such emotional language has no place in a behavioral assessment.

There is also a link to the leaked video of Lennox’s aggression assessment session with behaviorist David Ryan & dog handler Alexendra (Sandie) Lightfoot.   Ryan declared Lennox non-aggressive; Lightfoot testified that Lennox was dangerous.   Her lack of any nervousness in the video, in addition to Lennox’s friendly, submissive behavior with her, suggests that she may be guilty of perjury.   In his blog post, Crosby gives detailed narrative of the video, in itself very educational for those of us who want to understand submissive dog behavior.

It’s too late for Lennox, but it’s not too late to torch the Belfast City Council renew efforts at education & ultimately the abolishment of Breed Specific Legislation, which, in the case of Lennox, has proven how law can be unjust.

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