Belfast Telegraph

Hank is home: Dog seized by Belfast council is reunited with its owners - 'Thanks for saving me' [Photos and video]

'Happy Hank Day' say owners as they prepare to welcome home council seized pet

By Claire Williamson and Adrian Rutherford

Hank, the pet dog seized by Belfast City Council, has arrived home to be reunited with his owners.

A global campaign was sparked when Hank was taken from his east Belfast home by dog wardens just over two weeks ago on suspicion of being a pit bull-type breed.

An assessment concluded that although he was "a pit bull terrier-type" breed, the pet could be placed on the council's exemption register, thus saving it from death.

A judge at Belfast Magistrates' Court granted Hank an exemption order during a brief court hearing on Tuesday morning.

Supporters of the dog were in court and applauded as the judge ruled Hank could return home.

A lawyer for owners Leonard Collins and Joanne Meadows thanked all those who had supported their campaign to save Hank.

Hank was welcomed home with a special 'doggy cake' and on Monday night his owners posted a photo of Hank resting alongside a message that said: "Thank you everyone for saving me."

As part of his release conditions, Hank will be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

The court heard Hank had come to Belfast City Council's attention as a result of a complaint from a neighbour.

He appeared to "display agitated behaviour", and he was removed after a warrant was executed.

A dog expert ruled that while the dog was boisterous, he showed no sign of being a threat.

Judge Ken Nixon ruled the dog could be added to the exemption list, despite being a banned pit-bull type.

The hearing lasted less than five minutes.

His owners have called today a "happy hank day".

Famous faces including boxer Carl Frampton, presenter Dermot O'Learly and celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stillwell also gave their backing to the campaign.

Meanwhile a rally organised against Northern Ireland's controversial dog laws - with Hank expected to make a guest appearance has been pushed back a week.

It has been postponed to Sunday August 14 at 1pm "due to time constraints and the availability of invited guests".

Send us your pictures and videos: We want your dog pictured with a message of support or a video of him barking for Hank

  • Include your name, where you are from and the name of your dog to this address.
  • Alternatively you can tweet them to us using the hashtag #welcomehomehank.


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