We’re covering a statement the Hate Campaign maintain is a direct quote from Peter Tallack in reply to questions one of them apparently sent to him last year.
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The questions apparently put to Peter Tallack :
“In your experience do you think Lennox stands any chance at all of being allowed to live? Could he be reassessed and rehomed somewhere well away from his former home?”
The alleged response from Peter Tallack :
“ The honest answer from me is, no I don’t think he could be safely re-homed anywhere.
When I examined him he was the most unpredictable PBT I have ever dealt with and that is taking everything into consideration. (1)
I don’t know if you [are] aware the first defence expert used by the Barnes family never even took him out of the kennel, she just said Pit Bull Dangerous!! and that was that. Her statement has never been mentioned or served on the Council. (2)
The second expert as you are aware was David Ryan who stopped his examination when Lennox lunged at him.
The third examination by Sarah was a farce and no real test whatsoever. (3)
Again I don’t know if you are aware but at the first Magistrates hearing there was me and the DW who said he was unpredictable. David Ryan and then Caroline Barnes in evidence said that Lennox had always been bad with strangers and was always leaded and muzzled since they had him. (4)
There were no family photographs of Lennox in the house or with her children which does lean toward our suspicions that Lennox was permanently chained in their yard. (5)
It is my view that Lennox is not a cross breed but pure PBT and for this behaviour is worrying, generally pure PBT when they have been looked after have superb temperaments. I really don’t know but suspect something has changed his temperament/ behaviour. (6)
Again I don’t know if you are aware the only person who has successfully made any bond with Lennox is the dog warden who was slaughtered by the campaign and yet every week drove all the way to the kennels just to spend time with him. (7)
Sadly it is my view that Lennox was the wrong dog to campaign for. There have been many other cases that could have been much more worth while cases. I do believe the law needs amending. (8)
I will say and my view will never change, human life must come first! It is very sad but because of some really stupid people out there, there has to [be a] law to protect human life and this is one of them.
I wish I had a magic wand and banish one or people out there, but I have now been involved in four fatalities in the last five years and three of those have been young children, if I had a pound for every time I’ve heard, if only I’d known or if only!
You can see why it was not a straight forward yes no answer! Sorry! (9) ”
According to the Hate Campaign the above statement was received via email from Peter Tallack in April 2012… while the case was ongoing.
Bearing in mind Peter Tallack knew why the first defence expert’s report wasn’t used and why that expert and her report were never allowed inclusion in the proceedings, it was very ill-advised and unprofessional of Mr Tallack to draw attention to the subject at all.
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Let’s break the statement down and have a nitpick :
(1) ” The honest answer from me is, no I don’t think he could be safely re-homed anywhere. When I examined him he was the most unpredictable PBT I have ever dealt with and that is taking everything into consideration. ”
According to Peter Tallack’s CV, his experience and involvement with ‘Pit Bull Terriers’ spans at least 25 years, some of it within a geographical area that was, according to him, “very densely populated where Pit Bull Terriers became very popular very quickly ” (a district of South London).
And so we’re all expected to believe that, in 25 or more years and with all that experience and involvement with ‘Pit Bull type dogs‘, Peter Tallack had NEVER come across a dog as unpredictable as Lennox.
As usual, there isn’t a speck of recorded proof for that claim, and no witness statements to back it up. Unless you include Sandie Lightfoot, with her alleged ten years similar experience with canines, who oddly enough said the same thing as Tallack, almost word for word, again without proof.
The only difference between those two is that Lightfoot’s claims were exposed as outright lies via online evidence, some of which had originally been leaked by the Hate Campaign with the intention of damaging Lennox’s case for his owners, but which justifiably backfired on Lightfoot and the rest of the HC.
It was very convenient for Tallack that his ‘examinations‘ of Lennox (on two occasions*) went unrecorded (not a requirement for the Respondent). In addition, to all intents and purposes Tallack was entirely alone when he conducted his examinations, because there is absolutely no mention of a witness in the court documents, and the issue of an accompanying witness or witnesses to Tallack’s assessments was not brought up in court.
*On the subject of the two visits by Tallack – the court documents state that he attended on the first occasion purely to take measurements and basically ascertain type (Tallack claims he ‘just happened‘ to be in Belfast at the time). That was three weeks after Lennox had been seized.
But on the one hand there’s Tallack in a radio interview saying that his job was to confirm type and, after much hedging, finally admitted (in a roundabout way) that he’s not a qualified behaviourist. On the other hand Tallack visits Lennox again a few months later – to do what exactly? Presumably he’d already taken his ‘measurements’ the first time around, so why come back again, if not to ‘assess’ Lennox’s behaviour, which is something he wasn’t (isn’t) qualified to do.
We should also bear in mind, by that time Lennox’s owner had been advised to agree type in order that Lennox could be assessed on merits, and this was already known long before Tallack’s second visit, so there wasn’t any need for him to see Lennox again, if indeed his involvement was purely about ‘type’.
In fact Tallack himself confirms in his radio interview that it was the responsibility of the Appellant to prove Lennox was not a danger to the public, not the other way around, so why was Tallack ‘assessing’?
And did the cost of that second visit come out of his own pocket, or was it on BCC (tax payer) expenses? Maybe it was included in his extremely generous and unwarranted ‘expert witness’ fee of £7500.
(2) ” I don’t know if you [are] aware the first defence expert used by the Barnes family never even took him out of the kennel, she just said Pit Bull Dangerous!! and that was that. Her statement has never been mentioned or served on the Council. “
The only truth in that statement is the last sentence.
Regards his ‘first defence expert’ remark, as Belfast City Council’s ‘expert witness’ and on their payroll at the time, Tallack was unwise to mention something disallowed in court.
His statement that the first defence expert “never even took him out of the kennel, she just said ‘Pit Bull Dangerous’ ”, makes us think that he isn’t the author of the email, because it’s a very blatant lie, as Peter Tallack is fully aware.
The first expert, Madeleine Forsythe, was not requested by or known to Lennox’s owners; she was brought in by their original solicitor, Angela Douglas, who was effectively dropped by Lennox’s owners for making serious errors and professionally spreading herself thin (link).
As Mr Tallack knows, Madeleine Forsythe assessed Lennox for a considerable amount of time. He’s also aware that she took Lennox out of the kennel without using a catchpole! However, her written report described an entirely different dog and was dated incorrectly. Therefore neither Ms Forsythe nor her assessment were allowed to be included in the proceedings.
(3) “ The second expert as you are aware was David Ryan who stopped his examination when Lennox lunged at him. The third examination by Sarah was a farce and no real test whatsoever. “
Very conveniently Peter Tallack fails to mention that at the point David Ryan stopped his examination, he had already been assessing Lennox for approximately an hour. Tallack also forgets to mention that David Ryan confirmed Lennox had the opportunity to bite him but chose not to do so (Court Doc 1, clause 25).
Considering Mr Ryan subjected Lennox to lengthy and numerous tests, goading and teasing him in an attempt to elicit an adverse response (at one point bumping Lennox on the nose with his fist), it says a lot about Lennox’s steady temperament that, after all that provocation, the only reaction from him was a lunge as described, followed by an immediate retreat. A human reaction to that kind of incitement would likely end with Mr Ryan having his face smacked (or worse), even if that human was in a strange place but able to make sense of the situation, unlike Lennox.
Not surprisingly, Peter Tallack calls Sarah Fisher’s examination of Lennox ‘a farce‘; it’s the kind of defensive remark you’d expect from someone like him, with his very limited experience and tunnel-vision.
Tallack has also publicly criticised Ms Fisher’s use of the food she offered to Lennox, implying that she was afraid and attempting to bribe him, but Peter Tallack says absolutely nothing about David Ryan’s routine practice of doing exactly the same thing, as this extract from Mr Ryan’s own report confirms: “…in one movement he lunged towards me, growled, barked and snapped. He did not make.contact with me and returned to sit with Ms Lightfoot. As he did so, I again offered him cheese, which he took immediately in a relaxed manner” .
Unlike Tallack, Sarah Fisher (a fully qualified animal behaviourist with many years experience – link), spent much longer with Lennox, conducting a full and controlled assessment (link), as opposed to the haphazard one that Tallack seems to have carried out. David Ryan also spent a long time with Lennox; in fact even the original expert who wasn’t allowed a mention (Forsythe) spent time with him.
Tallack, on the other hand, gives the impression that he barely got through the first half hour of his examination, and it’s easy to draw conclusions about that in the absence of a written report or witness statement to say otherwise.
It’s also easy to come to certain other conclusions bearing in mind Tallack’s public announcement that he would not hesitate to control a dog with extreme force. In fact, in one media article he was quoted as saying that standing on a dog’s neck is an acceptable form of control; now that’s something neither he nor the HC can dispute because it’s already ‘out there’ (that’s the downside of the Internet, information just never goes away when you want it to). And let’s not forget that even BCC describe Peter Tallack as a ‘dog handler‘.
(4) “ Again I don’t know if you are aware but at the first Magistrates hearing there was me and the DW who said he was unpredictable. David Ryan and then Caroline Barnes in evidence said that Lennox had always been bad with strangers and was always leaded and muzzled since they had him. “
We can’t argue with the fact that Tallack and Lightfoot agreed on saying that Lennox was unpredictable, to the point where they mimicked each other’s descriptions, but it looks as if Tallack is also implying that David Ryan knew Lennox was ‘always bad with strangers‘.
It’s difficult to imagine why Tallack thinks David Ryan could know anything of the sort, given that he’d never met Lennox before nor witnessed him in the presence of other strangers, and Lennox’s owner did not use the word ‘always‘. In fact she explained that Lennox had been wary of strangers since an incident with a group of youths. She also stated that he ‘didn’t deal well with strangers who forced themselves upon him‘, which is entirely different to ‘always‘ and ‘totally unpredictable‘, and at no point did she say that Lennox had been ‘leaded and muzzled since they had him‘, so where the hell Tallack plucked that one from is anyone’s guess.
To quote David Ryan from his own assessment of Lennox :
“Lennox was taken from a kennel in the rear of a van by Ms Lightfoot at my request. He was happy to come out of the van and allowed himself to be clipped onto a short lead. As he exited the van his attention was friendly and mostly directed towards Ms Lightfoot.
He acknowledged my presence but made no unfriendly move towards me, although he was walked to within touching distance of me. He was walked into a garage area where the assessment was to take place and began to sniff about.
To prevent him urine marking. I took the lead from Ms Lightfoot and walked him a short distance to a patch of grass. During this time he paid me little attention…I offered Lennox small pieces of cheese to increase my positive interaction and reduce threat. He took them readily and appeared relaxed on his own with me. “
David Ryan had previously stated: “ He [Lennox] was walked up to me, a complete stranger, in an environment with which he was not familiar, without incident. This suggests he has no inclination to show aggression to anyone he meets in public if not threatened. “
(5) “ There were no family photographs of Lennox in the house or with her children which does lean toward our suspicions that Lennox was permanently chained in their yard. “
*Sigh* Here we go again (link). Tallack WAS never, HAS never been inside Lennox’s home. It’s doubtful he’s been anywhere near it, unless he also made a habit of sitting outside their property like other members of the HC (link).
That statement alone almost convinces us that Peter Tallack is not the author of the email because surely he isn’t stupid enough, not only to tell such shockingly bare-faced lies, but to be that arrogant and careless during an ongoing court case in which he was an expert witness?
Or perhaps it was his way of saying that he had the backing and approval of Belfast City Council to say what he likes?
(6) “ It is my view that Lennox is not a cross breed but pure PBT and for this behaviour is worrying, generally pure PBT when they have been looked after have superb temperaments. I really don’t know but suspect something has changed his temperament/ behaviour. “
Well, we can probably safely say by now that Tallack’s ‘view‘ and opinions are worth precisely zilch. It’s extremely doubtful Lennox was aggressive or unpredictable with Tallack; it’s much more likely he was scared stiff.
Tallack and Lightfoot have had free rein to say what they please because there is no physical evidence to dispute their claims. Equally there is no physical evidence to support their claims. What a tragedy for Lennox and his family that Tallack’s visits weren’t recorded and witnessed impartially, start to finish.
(7) ” Again I don’t know if you are aware the only person who has successfully made any bond with Lennox is the dog warden who was slaughtered by the campaign and yet every week drove all the way to the kennels just to spend time with him. ”
Sandie Lightfoot, that ‘pillar of the community, the only one who bonded with Lennox and who went to all the trouble of visiting him every single week of his incarceration’. The same Sandie Lightfoot who, along with Tallack, did her very best to destroy Lennox’s reputation, resulting in his death. For someone who allegedly took months to bond with an animal, she had a strange way of showing her affection.
Tallack (or whoever wrote the email) has drawn attention to Sandie Lightfoot, the Belfast City Council Dog Warden at the time (now a BCC Animal Welfare Officer if you can believe it). So let’s discuss her briefly and run over a few points.
Sandie Lightfoot :
- testified under oath that it took her six months to build a relationship with Lennox, and yet we’ve all seen solid evidence released very soon after Lennox was seized showing Lightfoot looking extremely comfortable and relaxed in his company, almost distracted in fact (link);
- claimed she visited Lennox once each week, but could not prove it, and when asked to provide visual evidence that Lennox was in good health during his incarceration, she ‘leaked’ photographs of an entirely different (and healthy, happy) dog, passing him off as Lennox (link);
- was regularly found on Facebook using a fake profile (more on that in another entry);
- could provide no evidence to support her claims that Lennox was ‘one of the most aggressive and unpredictable dogs she had ever met‘;
- lied under oath – Lightfoot’s false claim that Lennox’s owner had said ‘the dog will rip your head off‘ could not be corroborated by the colleague who was with her at the time. When cross-examined in court, Lightfoot’s colleague stated that she did not hear those words being spoken. Therefore that false claim was dismissed.
- lied about stalking – a letter from her employers, Belfast City Council confirmed that Lightfoot was indeed sitting outside Lennox’s owner’s house on at least one occasion. That letter contained a warning to the owners not to use images they had taken of Lightfoot that day, therefore BCC themselves confirmed she was outside their property and was not, as BCC had previously falsely claimed, ‘on indefinite leave‘;
(8) “ Sadly it is my view that Lennox was the wrong dog to campaign for. There have been many other cases that could have been much more worth while cases. I do believe the law needs amending.“
Lennox wasn’t the wrong dog, he was absolutely the right one and his case alone has brought attention to deceitful and morally-challenged people such as Tallack and Lightfoot, not to mention an atrocious, ineffectual and dysfunctional law.
As for an amendment to the law, that just shows Tallack for what he is, unintelligent and narrow-minded. The law needs to be abolished, scrapped, and the emphasis placed elsewhere, on owners and backyard breeders.
Lennox, aged five years old at the time, never had a complaint made against him for any reason. He had never bitten anyone (in spite of ‘someone’ at BCC telling Sarah Fisher a different fabricated story), and he had never been threatening or aggressive. He didn’t bite David Ryan and Sandie Lightfoot has not been able to show evidence to support her own claims because they are false.
So that just leaves Peter Tallack, and it begs the question, what was the real reason he used a catchpole to keep Lennox at bay? Was it to goad him into some kind of reaction, or maybe Tallack had already done that? Or perhaps he just needed to show Lennox in a bad light. Whatever his reasons, it wasn’t due to Lennox being aggressive and unpredictable, because we all know he wasn’t.
(9) ” I will say and my view will never change, human life must come first! It is very sad but because of some really stupid people out there, there has to [be a] law to protect human life and this is one of them. I wish I had a magic wand and banish one or people out there, but I have now been involved in four fatalities in the last five years and three of those have been young children, if I had a pound for every time I’ve heard, if only I’d known or if only! You can see why it was not a straight forward yes no answer! Sorry! “
Tallack showing there that he hasn’t a clue, although he’s right about one thing, there are some really stupid people out there. He’s friends with some of them and the next time he passes a mirror he’ll find another.
As for the magic wand, he might try using it for some self-improvement. If he really had absorbed and taken on board anything worthwhile in the last thirty years, you’d think he would have twigged by now that human behaviour is the problem. BSL is an ineffectual, grotesque sticky plaster, not a cure nor a remedy. The problem should be tackled where it starts, with the owners.
Maybe Tallack could try his violent dog-control techniques on the next bad owner he meets, see how far that gets him. That owner might have something to say about it, a dog doesn’t have a voice; it doesn’t have a choice. And neither did Lennox.
Tallack spent very little overall time with Lennox, yet used a catchpole on him. Not one other person who came into contact with Lennox needed to do that. He was observed with a neck injury that hadn’t existed before Tallack assessed him. Another easily drawn conclusion.
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- There are no records or physical evidence to support Peter Tallack’s claims that Lennox was ‘aggressive and unpredictable‘;
- There are no records or physical evidence confirming that Tallack’s visits to Lennox were witnessed by anyone;
- There are no records or physical evidence to support Sandie Lightfoot’s claims that Lennox was ‘aggressive and unpredictable‘;
Everyone asks the same thing, ‘How is it that Peter Tallack remained a constable for all those years, without promotion‘. We think the clue lies in his attitude and conduct highlighted during the Lennox case.
It’s very telling that Sandie Lightfoot and Mel Page count him as a good friend, and it says everything about their poor moral standards we’ve come to know so well.
We’ve had a few messages asking us to include some information about Peter Tallack’s conduct and comments in court. Many people witnessed it on the day, so it’s only right to share it here…
During cross-examination, Mr Tallack became increasingly agitated, sweating heavily and wiping his brow. Obviously extremely uncomfortable at being questioned, here are two examples of his conduct:
- Peter Tallack, referring to Lennox’s owner, Caroline Barnes, randomly challenged her right to own a dog owing to the fact that she walked with a limp and required a walking stick;
- Peter Tallack, whilst testifying in the witness stand, turned to the Judge complaining that he could not continue because ‘people were looking at him‘ !
Yes exactly, you really couldn’t make it up!
Let’s also not forget that during the Nando Brown radio interview on 14 July 2012, Peter Tallack clearly stated, at length, that it was the first time he had spoken out in public or given an interview about the Lennox case. His earlier interview for the Nolan Show, Radio Ulster on 31 March 2011 must have slipped his mind (link).
Tallack’s interview on the Nando Brown show begins at roughly 25 minutes (link below). You’ll hear Mr Tallack start with a touch of grovelling, then avoidance (re: his qualifications). After that your mouth will likely drop open at the lies spewing forth. He even manages to mention the first expert witness.
Then you’ll probably start going red in the face yourself when you hear the malice directed at Lennox’s family (try not to stick a fist through the computer screen). Be warned – you’ll hear the familiar innuendo and gossip that we’ve witnessed so often with the rest of the Hate Campaign. He’s even arrogant enough to imply on air that Lennox was a yard dog!
The rest of the show is taken up, quite rightly, by an interview with Sarah Fisher plus a chat with Victoria Stilwell and Jim Crosby. Well worth a listen, all of it. And someone very closely connected to the Hate Campaign makes a cameo appearance with some interesting own goal comments. (LINK)