Appeal Hearing Set for Dog Ordered Euthanized in Lewis County

By The Chronicle

An appeal hearing scheduled for later this month seeks to reverse the decision of a Lewis County District Court judge after a dog deemed dangerous was not declassified or released to its owner, and was instead ordered to be euthanized. 

Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge David Edwards will oversee the appeal hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24, in Montesano. Adam Karp, the attorney for Jann Propp-Estimo, the owner of the dog, said Lewis County Superior Court justices refused to hear the appeal because they did not want there to be “an appearance of bias.”

Karp has also filed a temporary restraining order that was removed to the United States District Court in Tacoma, which orders the immediate release of the dog. The civil suit was originally filed in Thurston County for damages and injunction. It also asks the court to declassify the dog as dangerous, and asks for a provision that the animal can only be euthanized by a court order. The dog is currently protected by a court issued stay that prohibits euthanasia until Aug. 31. Karp said he expects to hear from a judge on the restraining order within the next week or so. 

Propp-Estimo adopted a dog, originally named Tank, from the Lewis County Animal Shelter earlier this year. The dog had been declared dangerous in April 2016 after he was alleged to have been involved in the killing of livestock along with his mother, another pit bull mix. 

While in possession of the county, staff believed the dog was not in fact dangerous, so his name was changed to Hank, and Propp-Estimo was not made aware of his classification prior to his adoption.

The dog has been held at the Lewis County Animal Shelter since he was seized by the county in May after officials discovered he was adopted out, something that was against county policy. 

On June 19, a hearing was held in Lewis County District Court in an attempt to reverse the dangerous dog ruling and to seek the release of the dog back to his owner. During that hearing, Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard upheld the dangerous designation, stating new evidence presented did not clearly absolve Hank from wrongdoing, and ordered him to be euthanized.