Campaign to save Hank the dog raises over £5k in less than a day
A Belfast couple's campaign to save their dog after he was seized by Belfast City Council has raised over £5000 in less than 24 hours.
Joanne Meadows said she was shocked on Friday when police officers and council workers arrived at her home and took Hank away, and turned to Facebook to vent her heartache.
"To whoever reported Hank to the council for 'looking like a pitbull' - thank you so much for not even giving me the courtesy of speaking to me first," she wrote in a post that was shared thousands of times across the world.
Joanne has launched a social media campaign to save Hank, and more than 15,000 people have liked the page.
They have also set up a crowdfunding page to help raise money for their legal costs.
The online appeal has raised over £4,545 in less than 24 hours.
Joanne's partner Leonard Collins posted: "Hank was taken from my home by 8 police officers and 4 dog wardens. He has been condemned to die because he looks like a pitbull.
"Our only legal recourse is to fight this in the courts. We will do anything to save Hank, he is a much loved part of our family. He is more than a pet. The best chance at returning Hank to his home is to prove that he is not dangerous, this is costly due to the need for professional opinion."
He also has thanked everyone who had shown support.
He added they do not plan to speak to the media until they have consulted with a lawyer.
"Joanne and I are both overwhelmed with the genuine compassion that is being expressed", he said, "We are sorry that we haven't had the opportunity to get back to everyone but we do very much appreciate you reaching out," he posted on the Save Hank page on Facebook.
"We are aware of all of the support and pressure groups and before we speak to them or the media regarding Hank we feel it is prudent to meet with our legal counsel.
"This should be happening early next week. The same goes for blood testing issues, this will be discussed with our solicitors.
"Joanne and I have always been aware of the discriminatory nature of BSL legislation but recent events have solidified our opinions on the matter.
"Eight police officers and four dog wardens removed Hank from my home yesterday, three days after a warrant was signed by a judge."
A spokeswoman for Belfast City Council said: "The council has a statutory duty in relation to the enforcement of the Dogs (NI) Order 1983 as amended. The dog known as Hank has been taken in for assessment, and it would be inappropriate to comment further while this assessment is ongoing.
"We would like to assure those who have expressed concern about the dog's welfare that he is being well looked after and his needs are being met."
Two years ago, a campaign to save a Belfast dog named Lennox hit the headlines around the world.
Lennox was seized by Belfast City Council in 2010 as an "illegal pit-bull terrier type" dog, and was put to sleep in 2012 following a lengthy legal battle.