Friday, September 30, 2011

Last thoughts on the Lennox case

A few months ago I wrote these two posts about Lennox, the pit-bull who had been taken away from his family because of his breed. Well, the final verdict came out today and it’s what most of us were dreading – Lennox is to be killed after all.

I’ll avoid getting on a soapbox about most of the issues involved here, but just to repeat my strongest thoughts on the subject: even assuming that there is any kind of justification for this whole series of events, I can’t begin to fathom the cruelty of a system that would take this long to arrive at a decision in this particular case. It would have been infinitely more humane to put the dog down within a few days of taking him away from his family and home. Instead, they kept him locked up for 18 months (the equivalent of more than 10 dog-years) and even the date for the appeal was set for nearly six months after the original verdict.

Try, for a minute, to imagine what that means for a creature incapable of understanding why its world has fallen to pieces, or putting together comforting narratives in its head, or keeping itself occupied in the hundreds of little ways that human beings can in times of distress. An incarcerated human in the same situation – horrific though it would be – would at least have the advantage of knowing what is going on, the ability to cling to the hope that things might eventually get better and the option of keeping his mind busy with a book or a notepad (in addition to the chores and activities that fill the regular prison schedule). In my view, the manner in which the Lennox case was stretched out is an even stronger comment on human insensitivity than the facts of the case itself.

At this point I can only hope that it doesn’t take these unfeeling brutes another year to get together the apparatus for the killing, and that the process itself is as quick and painless as possible.


  1. Your words made Lennox come to life for me.. it leaves me with a huge lump in my throat.your writing is surreal..I'm a huge huge fan of your writing.

  2. True Jai, very well put. But the fact is that few people possess this kind of sensitivity to animals. I personally believe that how we treat animals is a function of our upbringing - I know perfectly reasonable people who will think this case is too much fuss over a dog when there are more important world issues to be resolved! A non sequitur, but there you are...

  3. I know perfectly reasonable people who will think this case is too much fuss over a dog when there are more important world issues to be resolved

    Manreet: I know many of these "perfectly reasonable" people myself, but I can't help but roll my eyes at the inherent self-deception involved in this way of thinking. What is the logical conclusion here - that we turn our attention to other species only after all the "important world issues" have been resolved (something that's never going to come close to happening anyway)? I think it makes more sense for people to address the cases of injustice and cruelty that personally resonate with them, and try to spread awareness and change other people's outlooks, in whatever tiny ways they can.

    In any case, personal experience tells me to be very wary of people who do the high-handed "there are so many human beings suffering, let's help them first" thing. I suspect the majority of these people wouldn't go out of their way to help suffering humans either, when it comes to transforming words into action - genuine sympathy and compassion are not things that can be so neatly rationed out, or accessed with an "On/Off" button.