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Video: Hank's owners determined to challenge 'rushed' dangerous dogs legislation

Leonard Collins (33), a pure science student, and his then partner Joanne Matthews (33) bought Hank about two years ago after being told by a friend that some pups were for sale.

"I think we paid something like £200-£250 for him. When we went to view the pups he had a funny waddle, a strange sort of sideways bounce that marked him out as different from the rest.

"When we thought of getting a dog people recommended all sorts of breeds to us but I know nothing about dogs and the breed didn't seem that important to me. Hank was described to us as a Staffie-Labrador cross.

"With hindsight perhaps I should have questioned the owner a bit more, but it really was something that never crossed my mind. I don't believe Hank is a pit bull, but someone with more experience might think that there is a tiny bit of pit bull somewhere back in his pedigree."

Leonard believes part of Hank's problem is that he is a big dog.

"If someone goes past the house and see a big dog jumping up and down and barking they might get the impression that he is dangerous," he said.

Leonard, who is determined not only to fight to save Hank's life, but also to challenge the legislation that governs dangerous dogs in Northern Ireland.

Leonard revealed that an online petition to save Hank had now gathered 100,000 signatures and a crowd-funding online campaign to pay potential legal costs had reached £13,000.

"My priority is saving Hank but the support that has emerged for our campaign gives us the perfect opportunity to challenge the breed specific legislation in Northern Ireland.

"I could not in all conscience accept the support given to us and not be concerned about the wider issue of how the law here works."

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