On July 14, 2016, a family in Belfast, Northern Ireland received a note from the police. They found it attached to their door saying they had taken their dog, Hank. 

Hank was arrested by the police for being a pit bull.

The law of the Northern Ireland, and generally of the UK, prohibits homes to keep “dangerous” dogs like Pit Bull Terrier and Tosa. That was the reason Hank was taken by the police; he was illegally owned.

However, Hank’s family says otherwise. Leonard Collins and Joanne Meadows insist that he is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier-Labrador cross. 

Photo credit: Irish Examiner

They pointed out that Hank has never had any aggression issues, and that he is a very playful and affectionate dog. Authorities, though, doesn’t seem to care. The fact that Hank looks like a Pit Bull and it is illegal to keep him are what matter to them. 

A week after the eight police officers and four dog wardens seized the dog, the family didn’t hear any news about their beloved dog. They weren’t even allowed to visit him. The authorities just told them that Hank “is being well looked after and his needs are being met.”

Couple Leonard and Joanne were worried as Hank has a skin condition that needs prompt treatment. He did not take any medications with him, and they don’t have a single idea of what could be happening to him.

What’s worse is that Hank was going to be euthanized. Should the authorities decide that his breed is that of the dangerous pit bull, his life should be put to an end.

Leonard and Joanne are willing to take the fight up to the courts so they can get Hank back. A petition was initiated by the couple on Change.org, and they were able to collect 250,000 signatures.

But aside from bringing home Hank, the couple also wanted people to realize that dogs’ behavior does not depend on their breed. For Leonard and Joanne, dogs can be educated. Their behavior depends on how they are trained, loved and cared for by his family.

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