Falsely Accused Dog Released From Custody, Was 1 Day Away From Euthani

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A case of mistaken identity finally had a happy ending when a dog was joyfully returned to his family after months of court hearings and tearful visits through chain links.

A pit bull named Hank has been returned to his family, after a judge released him right before he was to be euthanized. The judge, after months of hearings and petitions finally agreed that Hank was wrongfully convicted and should be returned to his family immediately!

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Jann Propp-Estimo is Hank’s mama and says that she feels thrilled to finally be vindicated. Judge John Skinder saved Hank from euthanasia at the last moment when he told the court that he did what was right and fair.

Hank’s daddy, Gary Pringle, said that Hank had been held at the Lewis County Animal Shelter for the last five months, and an international campaign for his release finally came through and secured Hank’s safe return to his family.

Hank’s family said he was the most polite dog they knew, and knew that his wrongful accusation and guilty conviction have kept them from sleeping well for the last few months. They thank social media for globally rallying around Hank and getting him released.

The saga started when Lewis County Animal Control officials learned that Hank, who originally was known as Tank, was living with a family even though he’d been declared dangerous in 2016 when he and another dog were accused of killing two goats and injuring another a horse. The other dog was not taken into custody and it is believed there was bias against Hank because of his pit bull mix breed.

Officials at the animal shelter Hank was kept out came to learn that “Tank” was in no way dangerous and to save the animal, looked to get him in rehabilitation programs that would take him out of the shelter. They could not, so they changed his name to Hank and Propp-Estimo’s family adopted him, not knowing he had been previously designated as dangerous.

When county officials learned of this, they seized Hank, even though in the time he’d been out, he’d not done anything that would convict him, and it was never proven he was guilty of the original act he’d been convicted of doing. In fact, a global campaign that even included video footage speculating how Hank could not have been involved received near-viral recognition in an effort to prove him innocent.

The shelter officials who changed his name and adopted him out were charged criminally for doing so, but the charges were dropped later as it was deemed they’d only been acting in the best interest of the dog. Amy Hanson is the manager of the shelter and she cried as she said that his release back to his family felt surreal and they were so happy for them.

Related: Family Pittie Protects Children From Venomous Snake Attack

Judge Skinder said that he was aware of the many people concerned about Hank, and though he didn’t dismiss other rulings prior, said that Hank’s case was one that walked a fine line between legal equity and a strick interpretation of the law.

He also said that it was not the fault of the Propp-Estimo family they adopted a dog under fraudulent terms, and it wasn’t fair to her or the dog because of circumstances not in their control. He said that Hank was to be released under restrictions that deemed him ‘potentially dangerous,’ and allow the county to challenge that if they so choose. It also allows the family to request that a permanent injunction that spares Hank’s life occur in a future hearing in the Judge’s courtroom.

In the meantime, the family is overjoyed, and Hank? Hank is happy to be home again.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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