Who am I mad at tonight?
No, they didn't blow up my favorite pub in the 1970s. I'm angry with Belfast; specifically, with the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens. I'm mad because last year, these Dog Wardens (spelled 'goose-stepping Nazi bastards') seized a five year old pet named Lennox from his home.
What misdeed led to Lennox's removal? Had he bitten a toddler, chased a mailman, growled at a neighbor?
No. Lennox never did any of these things. In fact, if Lennox ever so much as befouled a flowerbed no record of this act exists. He had all his shots and licenses. He lived indoors with a respectable family. He was, by all accounts, every bit as dangerous as a damp sponge. A damp sponge stored in a box. A box put away and forgotten in the attic. In your saintly old grandmother's house. We're talking a Threat Level of Fluffy Pillow here.
But enter the Belfast City Dog Wardens! Undeceived by Lennox's spotless record of good behavior or the glowing reports from friends and family, these feckless experts in the field of canine sleeper-cells whipped out a tape measure, performed a bit of on-site necromancy, and declared Lennox a slavering, rampaging beast just waiting for the right moment before tearing his way through a nursery school, Cujo-style.
And so they took Lennox away. Now, I'm not entirely familiar with the laws in Belfast. I do find it mildly disturbing that beloved family pets can be seized by the approximate equivalent of Wal-Mart greeters after being charged with, um, nothing at all. Except for being black. And looking a bit pit-bullish, if one sticks one's head in a bucket of oil and squints just so.
Once the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens had Lennox, the dog's family was kept in the dark. Again, I find this puzzling -- were the Dog Wardens fearful that Lennox might somehow pass state secrets in and out of his cage? Was Lennox being held of suspicion of espionage, as well as being somewhat big-boned?
Were the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens trying to break Lennox, convinced he was in fact the notorious Belfast Bank and Vault Robber ("They're always after me lucky charms!")?
We'll probably never know that. But what we do know is gleaned from a photo of poor Lennox which was leaked to his family.
It shows Lennox in a tiny, tiny metal cage, surrounded by his own feces. Food or water?
I suppose the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens consider food and water to be luxury items. Or maybe they lost the recipe for water.
I've written a letter to the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens. I don't expect a reply, mainly because A) literacy may be a bit of a stretch for people who can't tell pit bulls from mutts, and B) I doubt they like me very much. Which is fine, because I don't like them either.
The text of my letter is below:
My name is Frank Tuttle. I am an author and blogger from the USA.
By now you've realized why I'm writing, and you're correct -- this is indeed about Lennox, the dog seized a year ago and held since then on suspicion of possibly resembling something that from a considerable distance and in a dim light might look like a pit bull breed.
I've also seen the photographs of poor Lennox in what passes for acceptable quarters in merry old Belfast. Tell, me, mister or miss Dog Warden, is it customary for the citizens of Belfast to sleep in small cages surrounded by their own feces? That certainly doesn't fit with the tourist brochures which depict Belfast. Or is it only small harmless dogs that are housed in this manner?
Seriously. You people storm in to a private home, haul away a harmless pet, keep it confined on ludicrous grounds and in deplorable conditions, and you call yourselves 'dog wardens' and 'public servants?' What's the matter, you couldn't find openings as bull-stabbers for Spanish matadors?
I'd always thought the Irish were a kind and compassionate folk. I suppose all those brochures were in error as well. Note to Self: Call travel agent, cancel any plans to visit Belfast. I don't do well in cages, feces or not.
I feel certain I'll never receive a reply to this email. After all, with your busy schedules of goose-stepping through quiet neighborhoods looking for puppies to snatch and inspecting your cages to ensure they are small and filthy, you probably have little time left over to reply to the emails of foreigners.
But that's okay. I'm posting this on my blog, for all the world to see. Hopefully I can educate others as to the attitudes of dog wardens in Belfast.
May a leprechaun piddle in your beer,
I never said I was a very nice person.
I encourage all my readers to visit the SAVE LENNOX website and read the story for yourself. Oh, and if you'd like to drop the good people of the Belfast City Council and/or Dog Wardens a few lines, here are the addresses. Tell 'em Frank sent you!