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Video: 'He had a funny waddle, a strange sort of sideways bounce that made him special', says Hank's owner

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 says that when Hank was a pup he was very excitable, always on the go, but as he got older he became lazier, spending a large part of his day just lying around with occasional bursts of energy.

"At times he is extremely affectionate with me and will lie beside me. At other times he just wants his own space. To me he is a friend, I don't treat him as a pet. He slept on my bed every night."

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.

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