Authorities Seize This Family's Beloved Dog For The Most Ridiculous Reason

Andrea A.
28/7/2016

UPDATE, 29/07/2016

Luckily, they made an exception for Hank. After looking into his case and discovering that he does in fact belong to an “illegal” dog breed, the Belfast City Council has announced that he will be pardoned and returned to his family under certain conditions. It's fantastic news!

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

It's a shocking story if we've ever seen one.

When Leonard Collins and Joanne Meadows returned home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on July 14, there was a note attached to their door.

And when they got inside, they had a bit of a shock: their beloved dog Hank wasn't there.

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Source : @Save Hank

The note was signed by the police, explaining that Hank had been taken by the authorities. His crime? Being a Pitbull.

In Northern Ireland, just like everywhere else in the UK, the Dangerous Dogs Act makes life complicated for certain dog breeds branded inherently dangerous.

The law came into practice in 1991, making it illegal to own a "dangerous" dog such as a Pit Bull Terrier, Tosa or even an Argentine Mastiff.

But Hank isn't even a Pit Bull. According to his human, who adopted him two years ago when he was just a pup, Hank is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier-Labrador cross.

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Source : @Save Hank

And yet Hank is the most adorable of companions. He spends his time sleeping on the couch, playing with his family and avoiding cats like the plague.

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Source : @Save Hank

Leonard Collins told BBC News :

He is a very playful dog and is part of our family, my nieces and nephews adore him and my dad loves walking him. He's extremely affectionate, we've never had any issues with aggression.

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Source : @Save Hank

But the authorities couldn't care less: Hank looks like a Pit Bull and the law is against him.

The authorities were in full force when they came to collect him, probably after somebody reported him. Because he's deemed a fierce, wild beast, no less than eight police officers and four dog wardens arrived on the scene.

Leonard and Joanne received no news about their beloved companion for almost a week. The local authorities thought it enough to affirm that "he is being well looked after and his needs are being met", but wouldn't allow them to visit.

The couple were left to worry:

Hank has a skin condition and he doesn't have his medication with him, we don't know where he is or what's happening to him.

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Source : @Save Hank

What's worseis that Hank is today facing euthanasia. If the authorities decide that he does indeed fit the category of dangerous dogs, he will probably be put down.Leonard Collins and Joanne Meadows have appealed the decision and willtake the fight to the European courts if necessary for Hank's return.

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Source : @Save Hank

The couple have launched a petition on Change.org which has already amassed more than 250,000 signatures. But Leonard and Joanne do not just want to get their beloved dog back: they are just as keen to draw attention to the absurdity of alaw which allows the authorities to break up families for no apparent reason.Because we can't say it enough: there are no "dangerous" or "malicious" dogs. It all depends on the animal's education, as well as the love and affection he receives throughout his life.You can sign the petition by clicking here.

H/t: @TheDodo & @BBC News