Saturday, 28 July 2012

Impromptu Street Talk

BSL needs fixing. on the way back from the gym just now, i heard a DREADFUL noise, i thought it was a fox being strangled or something, turn round and see a guy with a pit bull walking towards me, the dog pulling proper hard on the choke chain heading into the road and the guy yanking her back, and she calmed down but it really shocked me. as she got closer i saw she had mummy nipples. poor girl. stupid man. 

then along a residential road i spotted a fox and it was just a few feet away from me so i stopped and watched it, and it was all small and thin and limping. a guy walking past looks to see where i'm looking and goes "He'll bite ya!!" so i explain that no probably not, unfortunately theres someone in government out to kill them just like he wants all staffies killed too so these stories are being driven by the media, like staffies. and they guy says " oh yeah well you know why that is, its cause they CROSS THEM (he reiterates a few times i knew he was talking pit bulls) to make em dangerous innit" and i take the chance to talk BSL with him, and it was really good he reconsidered what he had experienced, cause he knows dog fighters, and realised yes they were aggression training, and agreed its the owners not the dogs and doesn't think the dogs should die for it. 

anyway, Dennis and I had a great long talk about, well, society, the olympics, animal abuse, the government, occupy, everything. was really good. he's known animal abusers and he agrees its very wrong, and there should be greater consequences. he knew someone who had a pit bull who he would keep in the boot of his car when they went to play football, and he had a massive stereo system right above the boot and the dog would come out of the car all aggravated. then the guy would take the dog home, put it in his house and beat it to make it aggressive. one day the dog escaped, and his mates were just like "are you SURPRISED?" he thinks people like his mate shouldn't be able to get away with that or allowed more dogs. he understood totally about the BSL problem but hadn't considered the illegality of pit bulls making them popular, but agreed he knows people who have them for status. 

i happened to be wearing my cosmic pit bull t-shirt and he liked it, haha. nice guy. a mid-30s unemployed photographer forced to look for work in primark and at his interview he said it was a great long room absolutely filled with desks of people having 1 to 1 interviews. shocking. he didn't even get the job, he doesn't have much hope for the country but wants everyone to come together against the government. we went in a great long circle and yeah, he doesn't think the foxes should be culled, but hadn't heard of TNR, but thought it was a great idea. "Foxes are just like lil buddies" walking round eating our rubbish and we shouldn't be so messy cause it encourages them. i feel good after this talk.

Pet Portraits

I continue to offer pet portraits to raise money for various dog rescue charities, here are some of the recent beauties I had the pleasure of sketching

Thursday, 19 July 2012


This is a video I made covering the Anti-Breed Specific Legislation Protest in London on the 14th July 2012

The video shows:

Coverage of the protesters

Snippets of interviews with:
Carol Bell, exempted 'pit bull type' guardian
Naill Lester, of New Hope Animal Rescue
Sarah Fisher, Dog behaviourist
Adele Smith, of Canine99 Dog Rescue
Sian Morton, of DDA Watch
Selected full interviews available, including one with pit bull inspired music creator Maria Danes

Topics Covered:
Process for exempting a banned breed
Breed Specific Legislation and why it does not work
The flaws in the legal process
Support available to victims
Alternatives to BSL

Many thanks to everyone who participated and came to the protest, and everyone who helps change perceptions of the UK system for dealing with 'dangerous dogs'.

Song: 'Cerberus Is As Cerberus Does' by Flipron
(Disclaimer: Please do not pick apart the lyrics of this song, for whilst I was inspired to think that Cerberus was probably a Pit Bull type of dog, this song is literally about the Gatekeeper Hound.)

There are full versions of some of the interviews featured available on that profile :)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Lennox Conclusion... The Bitter End

The case of Lennox has caused a stir across the globe. 

This morning Belfast City Council announced via their website that they had euthanised Lennox, deeming him to be "unpredictable". There is outcry. 

Some suspect he died a while ago, and they are covering their backs. 

Everyone knows that this is an unjust case and Belfast City Council are under huge scrutiny, even having a bomb threat via phone this morning and numerous threatening attacks.

They have not responded very well- alongside their silence, reports were released of the workers answering the phones making animals noises to callers- they must have been going bonkers in that office. 

Last night, protesters in Belfast held a candlelight vigil for Lennox outside of the Belfast Council Headquarters. Only a handful of people showed up, but with a mere hour's notice, I feel this is of significance. Their support was strong on the Facebook event page, and many many people tuned into the Council Headquarters live webcam, and posting photographs of their candles, lit for Lennox. 

Victoria Stilwell has commandeered a final attempt to get Lennox out of the country. She publicly offered him sanctuary in the USA, but was refused a meeting with BCC (Belfast City Council) over the final days of the appeal. On BBC Radio Ulster this morning, she went head to head live on air with a minister from the Council, and you can hear them talking over each other, Victoria's anguish showing through... as well as the minister's nervousness. 

This case has gone completely insane. It makes absolutely no sense, and people are mortified. He has touched hearts across the globe and people are up in arms, even declaring war on Belfast. 

Many many reports and articles have sprung up on the case, from local Irish Gazettes to CNN in America, and Channel 4 News asked on their Facebook page if Lennox should be spared, to an overwhelming response of thousands of people all agreeing, "yes." 

In a final insult to the long suffering Barnes family, Victoria Stilwell revealed on her Facebook page this evening;

"I am so disgusted and want everyone to know how low Belfast City Council have stooped. The Barnes family heard about the death of their beloved dog through me because I had been told by a source at BBC Radio Ulster. After what the council put the family through they didn't even have the decency to inform the family first before everyone else know. Someone involved in this mess needs to lose their job. If this is the way they represent their citizens then Belfast beware. Belfast City Council should hang their heads for the shameful and insensitive way they have handled this. Heartless doesn't even begin to describe the people surrounding this case. Appalling and I can assure you, this will NEVER be forgotten!"

There is a protest in London on Saturday to end Breed Specific Legislation once and for all. It is NOT WORKING. It is neither protecting the public from dog bites, innocent dogs from death, and families are losing their pets. SOMETHING MUST CHANGE.

I shall be at the protest, stay tuned for my photographic and video coverage of the event. 

Lennox, you will not have died in vain. 

<3 our dog is love <3 

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Lennox trial update

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Lennox, he is a crossbreed who was seized by Belfast council back in 2010, and has become a world example of the injustice surrounding the BSL legislation. 

The Facebook page for Lennox states this:

"Lennox is a loveable 7 year old family member. He's an American Bull dog Labrador cross that the family have owned since he was a little pup. As responsible dog owners that also foster for numerous Northern Ireland dog shelters his family had Lennox as a young pup Micro chipped, Neutered, DNA Registered, Pet Safe Registered, Insured and Licensed every year with the Council without fail. On Wednesday the 19th May 2010 he was taken from his family home by Belfast City Council as they believe he falls under the dangerous dogs act for Northern Ireland. The Council, without seeking any proper professional guidance declared Lennox to be a breed of "Pit Bull Type" and so they wish to kill him simply because he has the appearance of said breed. The Belfast City Council took Lennox from his loving family home using a wrongly addressed warrant and using copyright ADBA (American Dog Breeders Association) breed standards guide which the Council were never authorised to use, in doing so the Council broke international copyright laws and for doing so have been issued with a 'Cease & Desist' order from ADBA Inc. Lennox has never attacked anyone or anything yet the Council have removed him from his home where he lives his human family, his kennel mates and various foster dogs. Belfast City Council are pressuring Lennox's family to sign him over to them to be destroyed however we feel the need to fight his case, he cannot speak but we will be his voice! If this was a human we would declare this racism. We ask every kind hearted compassionate person for your support, don't let them murder him. This may be our dog today but it could be your best friend tomorrow! Please visit Lennox's main website for further ways in which you can help and for his full story. Thank you for your continued support." 

These photos were released showing his miscare whilst in kennels:

Source: Facebook Save Lennox page

This has caused outrage. I personally fear for his safety, and that this has caused the council to further their claim that Lennox should be destroyed, to cover their backs for animal cruelty charges. 

Recently, the family have had to admit defeat to the Council, and Lennox is to be euthanised next week, causing an uproar amongst Pitbull advocates and dog lovers across the globe. 

Recently, the family have had to admit defeat to the Council, and Lennox is to be euthanised next week, causing an uproar amongst Pitbull advocates and dog lovers across the globe. 

Despite following every correct path, and support from renowned dog trainers Victoria Stillwell and Cesar Milan, the courts have ruled for his destruction. 

The family recently released this message:

" We apologise for the silence as we know our many friends and supporters around the world have been desperate for news but until we had further talks with our legal team we had nothing new to share. We needed to explore all possible options before we issued another statement as we did not wish to give those that have campaigned so tirelessly any false hope or for anything to be taken out of context as has happened in the past. 

Whilst there may well be errors in the Judge’s ruling from a point of law this has little bearing on whether we can or should progress by taking the case to a higher court. The ruling is based on the Judge’s decision that he deems Lennox to be unsafe despite evidence given by those qualified to assess and understand dog behaviour that contradicts the testimony of the Prosecution that was presented in court. This has given us little room for manoeuvre. 

Our concern and priority has always been the welfare of our beloved boy. We have fought to have Len returned to our family from the moment he was seized but we have been advised that the legal fight is at an end. We are obviously distraught but have to consider the impact that any future lengthy legal battle would have on Len if we chose to go against the advice that we have been given. We cannot subject him to any more as there are no grounds for a further appeal and we do not wish to prolong his suffering any longer by engaging in a battle that we simply cannot win. 

We have attempted to write this statement many, many times but have struggled to put in writing that the fight to spare Lennox’s life may well be over. It has been almost impossible for us to accept that we have to admit defeat. We always believed that there was some hope and that justice would prevail. We were wrong. There have been many dark days for us since Len was taken and we want you all to know that it is your support and kindness that kept us going through the blackest times. 

This is all we can share with you at the moment and we are finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing more that we can do from a legal point of view and that Lennox may well be killed. We have one last hope that Belfast City Council will allow Lennox to be rehomed in the USA. The offer is there but we have no say in whether this offer will be accepted. We have never refused to rehome Lennox. That decision was taken out of our hands from the moment Len took his final walk with us from our house to the Dog Wardens van. 

If the offer is turned down we will fight for our right to say goodbye. We cannot bear the thought that Lennox will die without being reminded of the hearts and hands that love him." 

Currently, Victoria Stilwell is in Ireland attempting to convince the council to allow Lennox to be homed in the USA. 

Next weekend, the 14th July, marks the National Anti-BSL rallies in the UK. I shall be attending the London one, and the focus will be on this injustice, and we all hope to draw attention to the serious misconduct this law enforces.