More than 100,000 people have signed a petition to save a dog who could be put down because he looks like a pitbull.
Leonard Collins and his partner Joanne Meadows say Hank has been condemned to die just because of the way he looks.
They have insisted that their pet is not a banned pitbull but a Staffie-Labrador crossbreed instead.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Leonard said: ‘He isn’t two years old. He barks at people walking past in the street and that is something we were working to try to remove.’
The couple have not been able to see Hank since he was seized by Belfast City Council a week ago and are concerned he hasn’t exercised since then.
Leonard said: ‘He hasn’t been walked once – as a dog that is used to a lot of exercise, not to be exercised is incredible.
Hank’s vet, Rodger Mugford, told the programme that he believes it is unlikely that Hank is a pitbull-type dog.
He said: ‘We believe from studies done with DNA, studies in the United States, that barely a quarter of all the dogs that are seized or said to be pitbull-types have any relatedness to a pitbull.’
But the council insists that it has a statutory duty to uphold the law and protect the health and safety of the public.
In a statement, they said: ‘The dog known as Hank has been taken in for assessment – no decisions have been made. Our staff have been in touch with Hank’s owners and will keep them informed.’
‘If the dog is deemed to be of a banned breed, and judged to present a danger to the public, the matter is referred to the courts to decide whether a destruction order should be issued.’