Dog set to be put down under Northern Irish law is granted a reprieve

The 'Save Hank' petition has received almost 300,000 signatures

Dog set to be put down under Northern Irish law is granted a reprieve

Image: Facebook/Save Hank

A dog in Northern Ireland has been granted a reprieve from being put down, after some 300,000 people signed a petition.

Hank the dog was taken from his home in Belfast by police officers and dog wardens on July 14th.

His owner, Leonard Collins, says his dog was condemned to die "because he looks like a pitbull."

Pitbull terriers are banned under legislation in Northern Ireland.

The legislation states: "A dog identified as banned by a dog warden will be presumed to be so, unless the owner can prove otherwise in court."

"A council dog warden, or an expert used by the council, will assess your dog's physical characteristics. They will judge the type of dog you have and whether it appears to be a banned breed," it adds.

Collins was told at the time he got the pup that Hank was a Staffie-Labrador cross.

Image: Facebook/Save Hank

He set up a 'Save Hank' Facebook page and petition, and he says an exemption order has been granted.

"We are now just waiting on paperwork being issued before we collect Hank," Collins wrote on Facebook.

"Belfast City Council has recommended that Hank be placed on the exemption list meaning that he will be returned to us", he says.

"This case has raised the inherent flaws in Breed Specific Legislation and propelled us all along the road to change."

A number of conditions were attached to the court order - including the stipulation that Hank has to wear a muzzle, a lead and undergo some training.

Speaking outside the Belfast High Court, Leonard Collins and Joanne Meadows thanked everyone for their help.