Police Remove Dog From Home for Resembling Pit Bull

July 26, 2016 Updated: July 26, 2016

Police in Ireland removed a dog from a home, explaining that the animal was taken because it resembles a pit bull.

Joanne Meadows and Leonard Collins of Belfast, Ireland, were away from home when police removed the dog, named Hank. Eight police officers and four city council dog wardens were involved in the removal effort, Belfast Live reported.

Officials seized the dog without the family’s knowledge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Under the act, some types of dog, including pit bulls, are deemed inherently dangerous and can be destroyed.

Collins said he believes Hank is part Staffordshire terrier and part Labrador. He said Hank is neutered, insured, and micro-chipped.

“People who don’t have dogs might not understand this, but we have effectively lost our first baby,” Meadows told Belfast Live.

Meadows and Collins are now trying to rescue Hank from possible euthanasia.

A Change.org petition has garnered almost 229,000 signatures of its 300,000 goal.

And a crowdfunding website for legal fees has raised almost $23,000 (17,360 pounds).

“When we took Hank away from his litter, we promised him that we’d look after him for the rest of his life and that’s exactly what we were doing when he was seized and incarcerated,” Meadows told People magazine.

“The council won’t let us see him because they claim it will distress him. That’s rich considering what they’ve put him through. I know he’ll already be deeply distressed because the only security he has ever known is us, our family and friends, the people who love him and reared him.”

The dog hasn’t been walked since he was seized by authorities, the family said. Hank, according to the couple, has never been aggressive in their care.

On Facebook, thousands of people have raised $15,000 for the couple to save Hank.

“Belfast City Council Facebook page had thousands of comments about Hank. They have all been removed. The review section has also been removed and there are no visitor posts,” a spokesperson for the Dog Lovers NI told Belfast Live.

“Now they are not even reading them. They have set up an automatic filter to delete messages already posted and to intercept anything you send,” the person said.