Grays Harbor Judge Affirms Lewis County Ruling on Hank the Dog

By The Chronicle

Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge David Edwards has upheld an earlier ruling from Lewis County District Court finding that a dog facing euthanasia after chasing livestock and being declared dangerous will not be declassified after Lewis County employees changed the animal’s name and adopted him out to an unsuspecting family.

Adam Karp, of Animal Law Offices, said in an update on social media that Edwards did not enter an order at the hearing held on Friday in Montesano. He represents owner Jann Propp-Estimo, who is fighting in court to have the dog, named Hank, released. 

She and others, including the owner of the livestock, have said repeatedly Hank, whose name was changed from Tank prior to his release, is not dangerous and it was in fact another dog that killed livestock in 2016. 

The next hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 25.

The dog has been recommended for euthanasia numerous times, but he is still safe for now. 

“The County does not object to a stay of euthanasia as further appellate review is, and will be, sought,” Karp wrote. “Presently there is no order mandating his euthanasia by any date certain. As noted, a stay will be sought pending appeal to the Washington Court of Appeals.”

The dog involved in the case was originally deemed dangerous in April 2016 for allegedly killing livestock along with another dog. The dog was not euthanized, a requirement of Lewis County Code. Instead, his name was changed to Hank and he was adopted out to Propp-Estimo, who was not aware of his designation. County employees said the dog did not exhibit aggressive tendencies. 

The animal was seized from Propp-Estimo once the adoption was discovered by the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office. 

In June, Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard upheld the dangerous designation. The decision was appealed to Grays Harbor Superior Court.

Director of Public Health and Social Services Danette York and Lewis County Animal Shelter Manager Amy Hanson faced two criminal charges after the dog was adopted out. The count of animal at large was dismissed. The charge for effect of designation was also dismissed in District Court by Judge Wade Samuelson because he did not agree with the recommendation to continue the charges for a year and then drop them if both employees did not break any further laws. 

Both cases were dismissed so that Eric Weston, chief deputy prosecutor for Pacific County, who represented Lewis County, could confer with his employer on the next appropriate steps to take.

The cases against both York and Hanson are currently listed as closed.