GOOD BOY HANK...Belfast City Council to hand back Hank to its owners next week

GOOD BOY HANK…Belfast City Council to hand back Hank to its owners next week

HANK the dog – seized by Belfast City Council for daring to look like a pitbull – will be back with its owners next week pending court approval.

A council spokesperson said he had been assessed by an “appropriate expert to be a pitbull terrier type”.

However, it has been recommended that he be placed on the council’s exemption register.

They said that any behavioural issues can be addressed with proper training.

“It is anticipated that this matter will be brought through the courts as quickly as possible, following agreement from all parties on the recommended conditions.”

Hank was seized from his east Belfast home on Thursday 14 July by police officers and dog wardens while the owners were not at home following a complaint from someone in the area.

Following his assessment, they issued a statement on Thursday to say Hank had displayed some “behavioural issues”, but an expert had decided these could be addressed through additional training.

Owner Leonard Collins said he “delighted”.

He added: “Hank is in no way a danger to the public, as we have always known, but we were afraid of what might happen to him.

“I am concerned that the council have decided that he is a pitbull, but we will do everything that we can to get him back on Tuesday.”

Mr Collins said he and others would continue to campaign for a change to breed-specific dog legislation in Northern Ireland.

Hank’s seizure prompted an online petition to have him returned, which was signed electronically by more than 280,000 people – including celebrities.

Hank has become a social media sensation and his story has been followed to as far away as America.


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