I'm sure you'll be aware of the big news story of yesterday around Lennox the dog? Unless of course you're reading this in a couple of years time when everyone will have forgotten about the utter furor despite claims that they will "never forget". We shall see.
The upshot of the story is that pitbull and pitbull type dogs are illegal in the UK, so this pitbull type dog was seized, removing it from its family home. Quite why the family thought it was a good idea to have a breed of dog known to be so dangerous near their vulnerable children in the first place is a different matter altogether. Anyway, after a long legal battle where two courts had ruled in favour of destroying the animal, the deadline for an appeal passed this week and the dog was humanely destroyed. Thanks to the social media age in which we now live, the story went viral and Belfast is now the subject of an international hate campaign, specifically Belfast City Council's Facebook page.
I'll freely admit, I'm not an animal lover in general. However I can see how attached other people in my life get to their pets and how upset they are when something happens to them. So I get why this ruling is upsetting. I also understand that ordering the destruction of an animal whose family have never seem him be anything other than docile and a loving family pet, purely based on his breed, seems outrageous. However those who have handled and dealt with the dog since it was seized have reported that it has shown signs of dangerous behaviour, which is why the Judge ruled that he could not be sure the dog would not cause harm to anyone else.
When I was a teenager, a German Shepherd dog which lived next door to my grandmother cleared a 3 foot wall to jump at me. It apparently had cancer and had gone a bit mad, but knowing that still wouldn't have stopped it mauling me if I hadn't managed to get indoors before it reached me. If I had been smaller and younger I might not have made it on time.
Therefore I am a supporter of dangerous dogs legislation. Have we got it quite right basing our decision on what dogs are legal/illegal based on breed rather than their behaviour, the conditions where they are to be kept, etc? I don't know. But it's not enough to just say that any dog should have freedom to roam the streets and be in proximity to vulnerable members of society until they do something wrong. Because for those animals who really are dangerous, by then it could be far too late.
Anyway, this blog is not about whether or not "the right thing" was done here this week. It is instead about the idiocy of some of those who have taken to commenting on the Belfast City Council Facebook page. I've put a link there but to be honest the page has been removed at least once in the last day, so there's no guarantee it'll still work.
Campaigners have taken to making comments on the various posts the Council has made but some of them are completely over the top. The general themes are that all of the countries in the world hate Belfast, that everyone should boycott the city and all of it products, and that Belfast City Council are murderers. However there are those who have gone too far, threatening the council members and their families and calling for all of the citizens of Belfast to be killed. As one of the latter I take exception to this suggestion.
There are currently over 30,000 comments on the top few posts, with reports that previous comments had been deleted. Here are some highlights (names removed):
"Looking forward for news about BCC members or their families being knifed down!"
"I pee on you"
"you moronic desgusting waste of space power ridden hillbillys FACT,shall be starting conversations with over 500thousand brits and americans to get all your internet accessabilty taken away as i dont think the world really needs to know anything you have to say anymore as you prove you dont listen and have no idea when it comesto a living life ROT IN HELL"
"You are not humans, you are monsters!!! Belfast is the new synonym for injustice"
"We hope your world ends in the same undignified way. Scumbags"
"I wish the gentlemen down the anus to the devil"
"I seriously wish that YOUR children are kidnapped and murdered."
(To someone who had dared to defend Belfast) "enjoy your aids blondie"
"I confirm you that I'd like put to sleep you
BOYCOT NORTH IRELAND AND HIS OWNER GREAT BRITAIN AND ALL THEIR PRODUCTS"
"Rain FOREVER in Belfast ..... PLEASE!!!!"
"a drop away of a nuclear bomb! so long bcc!"
"Burn belfast" (well, it was the 11th July last night, so we gave that one a go ourselves)
"iRELAND: EXPLODE !!!!!!"
"That's my family holiday cancelled. You know where you can stick your Giant's Causeway." (should we tell them that Causeway is in a different council district?)
"Belfast is now a black spot on the map of humanity!"
"B nice if ur offices were to..get burned down wen ya in there : )" (the smiley is a nice touch)
"Belfast city has been put to sleep by me. Retarded!" (pardon?)
"MOTHER FUCKERS! Irish people sucks!"
"You guys are going to die a much more horrific death ...."
"JUDGES Drunks, OLD IGNORANT arrogants" (all of them?)
"I will wait for your family to come in Crete island and I will Humanly welcome them........fcktards"
"Unionist=murderers" (from an Italian guy - where did that one come from?!)
"YOUR MOTHER WAS ILLEGAL! IMPUDENT SWINE!!! Heed our words, this shall not go without punishment!!!" (is that a... yo mama joke?)
"Everybody hates you!!!! Belfast is now knows as a horrible city."
"i hope belfast crumbles"
Thanks all. Such a shame you won't be visiting - bet you'd all be great craic!
So it's ok to condemn a whole city and threaten the lives of the whole council (who actually have nothing to do with making the laws or the court orders), but to humanely put down one potentially dangerous dog is tantamount to, and I quote, "concentration camps"? Some might argue there are gaps in your logic.
Anyway I'm off to peek out the curtains and watch for the plagues of frogs and seas of blood that are apparently on their way here. Wishing you all a safe and pleasant holiday weekend... and best wishes to the poor council workers who will no doubt have the most awful time of it next week.