You could say that Sandie Lightfoot’s involvement in the Save Lennox Hate Campaign actually began on 11th May 2010 when she paid a visit to Lennox’s owner.
Lightfoot initially made a statement under oath that, when she arrived at Lennox’s home on that day, she was sworn at and told the dog would “rip your head off“. She also claimed the door was slammed in her face.
However, Sandie Lightfoot was accompanied by a colleague on 11th May 2010 (name withheld). That same colleague testified in court that she “did not recall” and was “not aware” that the words “the dog will rip your head off” had been spoken, nor did she recall any swearing taking place, or a door being slammed in anyone’s face.
Subsequently the Judge ordered that neither Lightfoot nor the Belfast City Council legal team could mention that doorstep visit again. In other words, it was to be disregarded through lack of reliable and consistent evidence – in civvy speak, it was ‘a pack of lies‘.
So Lightfoot attempted to lie under oath and got away with it, by the skin of her teeth. It wasn’t the first time, and certainly not the last, as we know:
The following is a copy of a statement given to the legal representatives of Lennox’s owners, relating to the visit by dog warden Sandie Lightfoot and her colleague to the family home on 11th May 2010:
Sandie Lightfoot turned up with another dog warden and asked if the owner (of Lennox) was at home.
As I’d already had a visit from the other dog warden a couple of days before, Sandie Lightfoot knew that my partner Caroline (Barnes) was in hospital, because I’d told the other dog warden previously that Caroline would be in hospital for several days. At the time that dog warden accepted my explanation and said she would come back when Caroline was out of hospital. There was no rudeness, we were both polite to one another.
Lightfoot and the other dog warden turned up before Caroline was out of hospital. Lightfoot asked if the owner was at home but she already knew that Caroline wasn’t, because I’d already told the other dog warden a couple of days before. So I explained again that Caroline would be out in a couple of days, and the other dog warden gestured towards Lightfoot and said “Yes, I told Sandie that”. So Lightfoot already knew that Caroline wouldn’t be there.
Lightfoot said “Well we really need to get access to the dog”
I said “I was just on my way out to the hospital when you called and anyway I didn’t expect you. Why exactly do you need to see the dog or owner, is there something wrong?”
Lightfoot: “Well we would really need to talk to the registered owner about that”
I said: “If there is something wrong, I can pass the message on?”
Lightfoot: “Do you have paperwork for the dogs here?”
I said: “Do you mean licence and stuff? Yeah we have paperwork for all three”
Lightfoot: “I’d need to see it”
I said: “That’s no problem but like I said, it’s my partner who takes care of all that and she has everything in one big envelope somewhere and I’m on my way out, so you’d really need to call back when she’s home, in just a couple of days”
Lightfoot: “Actually I’d really need to see the dog and paperwork today”
I said: “Which dog?”
Lightfoot: “You have an American bull dog?”
I said: “Yes we have an American bull dog cross, a Yorkie and a Boxer”
Lightfoot: “Just the three dogs then?”
I said: “At the moment, yes, but we have foster dogs from time to time. Why, is there something wrong with us fostering or something?”
Lightfoot: “No, we need to see the bull cross”
I said: “Like I said, that’s no bother but I’m on my way to hospital to be with my partner as she’s ill in hospital, but when she’s home you can call back and see him then, no problem”
Lightfoot: “Well if you refuse us entry to see the dog we’ll have to get a warrant and seize it from the premises”
I said: “Why would you need to get a warrant, no one is refusing you entry?”
Lightfoot: “Sure you won’t let us see the dog now?”
I said: “I’m not refusing you entry now, I’m just on my way out and haven’t the time now, and as you haven’t yet told me what’s wrong anyway, then I don’t see why I need to give you access. I told you to call back when my partner’s home from hospital and you can see the dogs and all their paperwork”
Lightfoot: “So you’re not refusing us entry but you’re just not letting us see the dog right now?”
I said: “That’s correct. Come back in a couple of days”
Lightfoot: “Ok, we’ll just get a warrant then”
I said: “What, are you serious? I just said to call back when my partner’s home from hospital and you can see the dogs. Listen, what exactly is this about?”
Lightfoot and her colleague start to walk towards the gate.
I said: “Do you want to tell me what this is about so I can tell my partner?”
Lightfoot: “No, we’ll just get a warrant and come back, seeing as we’ve been refused entry”
I said: “You haven’t been refused anything, but you know what, if you’re going to have an attitude like that when you come to someone’s door, then you can go get your warrant”
Lightfoot smiled sarcastically and closed the gate.
So that was the first time I had ever seen Lightfoot and at no point was there any swearing. Her colleague stated in court that I never swore and she also said she didn’t hear me say Lennox would ‘rip your head off’.
Seriously, who in their right mind would say to dog wardens at your own front door ‘oh, my dog would rip your head off”?
What I have said here is almost word for word of what happened on that day at our door, and I know this well because I’ve written it down for the solicitor and barrister many times and now it’s branded in my mind. The fact is there was no swearing by either party. But yes, Lightfoot did arrive at my door with a nasty and unprofessional attitude.