Now, the family that adopted the dog is hoping they’ll be able to save their pet before the animal is euthanized.
“He’s never shown one ounce of aggression to any of our animals, our neighbors’ animals, or my sister’s and mom’s dogs when we took him to California,” Jan Propp-Estimo, the owner of the dog, told The Chronicle.
The dog was declared dangerous after being one of two dogs that killed at least one goat and injured a horse.
According to court documents, on April 1, 2016, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was advised of a possibly vicious dog on Nelson Road in Winlock.
A witness told a deputy that two pit bulls had entered into a barn after having a friendly interaction with her two daughters. The dogs were found chewing on a deceased goat. Another goat escaped and was chased and eventually killed by the dogs.
“The dogs were seen going after the goat’s neck and continued to chew on the goat after it died,” according to the officer’s report.
The dogs began to chase a small black pony, according to the report. The witness said the dogs grabbed onto the pony’s neck, legs and tail, and said the dogs would not get off of the animal despite the “screaming and yelling.”
One dog involved in the incident was kicked by the pony, limped away and was never located. The other dog in the incident, named Tank, was the dog later adopted out by the county.
Once an animal declared to be dangerous is in possession of the county, that animal needs to be euthanized, according to Lewis County code.
Instead, York gave her approval to Lewis County Animal Shelter Manager Amy Hanson to adopt the dog out after his name was changed from Tank to Hank, according to documents.
Those involved in the adoption process believed the dog was incorrectly deemed dangerous as they had not seen any aggression or behavioral issues.
According to the incident report, the Animal Shelter attempted to find a trainer who could rehabilitate Hank, but due to the animal’s history, none of the trainers agreed to take the dog.
Since the dog was adopted out of Lewis County possession, the Prosecutor’s Office informed the Board of Lewis County Commissioners earlier this week that if any issues later arise, the county would be held liable.
“Unfortunately the thing is, from a court perspective, is once a dog is declared dangerous there is nothing you can do,” Glenn Carter, with the Prosecutor’s Office, said during the meeting.
Under current code, there is no mechanism to declassify a dog once it is deemed to be dangerous.
Propp-Estimo, who adopted the dog in January, said she had no idea the dog was declared dangerous or that his name was changed prior to the adoption. That didn’t concern her since she said the dog is anything but dangerous. She described him as loving and caring.
“I cry almost every day,” she said. “I just want Hank back. He was just such a wonderful dog.”
Hey lady. What about the animals that were torn to pieces by your pibble?
Propp-Estimo’s 9-year-old grandson became very close to the dog and she said he was “heartbroken” once he was taken away from the family.
According to the incident report, on May 9, Lewis County Detective Gabriel Frase went to speak with Propp-Estimo about a legal issue with Hank. He informed her the animal should never have been adopted out.
Hank, who was living at her son’s residence on South Gold Street in Centralia, was taken by the Sheriff’s Office. The animal was brought back to the shelter, and staff were instructed to get permission from the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office before doing anything with Hank.
Propp-Estimo said her family has offered to comply with all of the dangerous dog requirements, which includes purchasing insurance and registering the dog, among other items. She is currently in discussions with lawyers about what her next steps should be.
She hopes to file an immediate injunction so Hank cannot be euthanized.
She has also submitted a bill for $3,000 for the reimbursement of the installation of a fence, supplies and a microchip she purchased for the dog.
Propp-Estimo has created a Facebook page called “Help Save Hank.”
The case has been referred to the Pacific County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if criminal charges should be filed.
Eric Eisenberg, with the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, was working with the public health department, the humane officer and animal shelter on a code change that would have allowed a dangerous animal to be rehabilitated instead of euthanized.
Because of his work on the changes, he is now a witness in the case, which spurred the Prosecutor’s Office to seek an outside opinion.
The decision to euthanize the dog is now up to the Board of Lewis County Commissioners, since the health department is under their management.