Hank: Judge declines to declassify dangerous dog

Monday, June 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm
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Jann Propp-Estimo holds back tears as her son Jason Estimo speaks with their lawyer.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County judge ruled today the county should proceed to euthanize a pit bull terrier after viewing new evidence by an eyewitness that seemed to exonerate him in the killing of two goats.

The session this morning in Lewis County District Court follows a winding case in which the dog was deemed a dangerous animal under a county administrative process, but instead of being put down, was wrongly adopted out by the shelter to an unknowing Centralia family who handed Hank over when law enforcement came to retrieve him.

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Detained April, 2016

Jann Propp-Estimo, seated next to her attorney, let out a sob as Judge R.W. Buzzard made his pronouncement.

“I find by clear and convincing evidence Ms. York got it right,” Buzzard said. “This dog by our codes is dangerous.”

Propp-Estimo’s lawyer Adam Karp shared information with the court about Hank’s disposition from those at the Lewis County Animal Shelter had the dog in custody for several months and once again are holding him and from Propp-Estimo whose family owned him from January until May.

Karp brought the Winlock man who owned the goats to testify and filed a declaration from a neighbor who saw what happened last year.

Julianna Engel, according to a deputy’s report at the time, made statements such as the two dogs chased, bit and killed the goat, Buzzard said. Her more recent sworn declaration specified it was Hank’s mother who engaged in the attack.

“These two statements could not be more different from one another,” Buzzard said.

Judge Buzzard noted that Engel was not present at the hearing to be questioned, but a statement given so close in time to the event is presumed to be more believable, he said.

At the end of the approximately 90 minute hearing, Lewis County Civil Deputy Prosecutor David Fine was instructed to bring back an order for Hank to be euthanized. Judge Buzzard said his signature would start a clock ticking for 48 hours.

Karp said he will appeal and / or file a new lawsuit against the county.

“This is bullsh*t,” Winlock resident Steven Rohr said. “He was not part of it, he was wrongly accused.”

Rohr, the owner of the goats, was visibly upset as he and a fair-sized crowd exited the courtroom.

He had taken the stand in defense of the dog, pointing out what he saw on the video taken by his dash cam that day. At first, he was prejudiced against the pit bull he then knew as Tank, he said. But after speaking with Engel, he changed his mind.

“Hank is sitting right there, wagging his tail,” Rohr had told the court as he pointed to a segment of the video that was shown. The actual killing did not appear on the tape.

Also among those assembled in the lobby on the third floor of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center was Debra Parscal, who owned Tank at the time. She said that after the incident, she had to tell her children she couldn’t come up with the money to meet the county’s demands for $500,000 worth of liability insurance to be able to keep their dog.

Today’s hearing was held simultaneous to a meeting by the Lewis County Board of County Commissioners in which they approved an amendment to the dangerous dog ordinance that allowed the appeal in Lewis County District Court.

The dog’s situation came to to the attention of county authorities in May, when Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer advised commissioners he learned that instead of putting the dog down last year, the Lewis County Animal Shelter changed its name to Hank and adopted him to the new family, without disclosing his pertinent background.

Propp-Estimo took Hank to her rural Centralia home in January, then relocated him to her grown son and grandson’s home in town, because her other dog, Bruce Almighty, didn’t care for the new addition.

Jason Estimo was disappointed and unhappy with the judge’s ruling.

“It seemed, uh, kind of intellectually really dishonest,” Estimo said. “They changed the ordinance to save Hank, and Hank’s still going to be put down.
•••

For background, read “Possible reprieve for dog implicated in goats’ deaths” from Wednesday May 31, 2017, here

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24 Responses to “Hank: Judge declines to declassify dangerous dog”

  1. john zolis says:

    MothersOnMeth – Yes I know I changed your nom de plume – Feel it’s far more accurate! The fact that you say get another dog is the exact reason you are a disgusting human being like all those who dump animals in shelters to die – Million of animals die because people are morally and ethically void as you are!
    Do the world a favor stop procreating I’d hate to see your genes past on more than they already have!

  2. Kimberly Guarneri says:

    Mother against meth,
    I think that you must be on Meth, to make such a heartless stupid comment , Get another Dog!
    What kind of person are you , definitely stupid and obviously heartless like I stated above , just wondering why you would make a statement like you did , when a family a young boy who love this dog without any doubt on his innocence in this case and if you actually read this story on hank/tank will see that not only does the owner of the killed and injured animals NOT WANT HIM (HANK?TANK) KILLED , but HANK /TANK’s mother who was the actually guilty party to this case , has been given a 2nd chance , why is hank /tank not been given that also. He is innocent so bee bop , mom against meth and any other negative comments people wish to leave ,………
    DON’t this family and all thier supporters really do not care to read them and this family is already in so much pain that you making heartless , stupid comments , well lets say be glad someone like me likes in Idaho , thats all I have to state on that fact !!!:)
    Keeping the faith and hope that someday soon Hank/Tank will be home !!!

  3. Steven Rohr says:

    I think it’s funny how the county feels they are responsible if hank attacks again if they are so responsible then why didn’t they pay the bills that his mother caused me…

  4. Katie Lewis says:

    This judge needs to be taken OFF the bench!!! Sadly I have a story very similar to this. My dog was innocent & I had proof but this so called judge didn’t care, he had his mind made up as soon as the case got to him! Real justice isnt blind with him! He MURDERED my dog, sentenced him to death because of his breed! This judge buzzard is despicable! I bet there are so many stories like Hank and mine & I hope that this sweet dog somehow is saved and this judge along with corrupt Lewis county get exposed!!! This is so heartbreaking and truly sick another family us enduring another failure in real justice.
    Praying for Hank

  5. Alex Durham says:

    It’s simple people, you write Buzzard and the city council and inform them that if that dog is murdered by them then you will put everything you can behind their opponents next election cycle. You will do everything to make sure they are removed from their offices and competent people are put in their place. As for pits I was raised with them, had one as my constant companion and she was the most loving dog, she loved everyone, as long as you didn’t hurt her boy. Which was her job, to be my companion and protector. Pits are not bad, people are bad.

  6. I Know What You Did says:

    Buzzard’s issues go far, far beyond this incident. Yes, he is power tripping, yes, he has blood on his hands and yes, KARMA and YOUR MAKER will be the JUDGE of you in the end! Your father is probably just as ashamed of you as the general public. Wrong doing will always catch up with you in the end.

  7. Peter, BleeBoo, and MothersAgainstMeth, I’m sorry to tell you, but y’all are idiots.

    Peter, in the first place, Hank is part of our family — he’s not just a dog, and he can’t just be replaced. It doesn’t work that way. You are heartless.

    BleeBoo, I’ve seen your name before — I thought you were off base before, and you’re still off base. Hank is not a problem for any beast or human — he’s a kind, gentle, loving dog, and you don’t just kill those kinds of animals. You’re so worried about the county’s liability — well, if Hank is so dang dangerous and the county let him be adopted out — the county put my son and grandson in grave danger for four months — what kind of liability do you think the county is up against now, smart guy?

    Let’s down forget MothersAgainstMeth — err on the side of caution — really? Seriously? That is just pure nonsense all the way around. Americans are not a cautious people — they are fighters; they are liberators. Maybe if we’re going to err on the side of caution, we take the meth heads and just lock em up because they steal and cause crime on our streets, and we’d all be so much safer without them. Your affiliated with that group because it’s near and dear to your heart — too bad, lock em up.

    The BOCC unanimously voted to pass Ordinance 1275 because of Hank. The ordinance was created because of Hank — you get it now? — the BOCC saw an injustice and wanted to correct it. Judge Buzzard had the same opportunity and chose not to correct the mistake. When history keeps repeating itself, it’s because the participants never learn — the BOCC wanted to learn; sadly, Judge Buzzard did not.

    Judge Buzzard made a bad and foolish call because he was not interested in dispensing reasonable and fair justice — I’m not sure what he was doing or what he was thinking. Unless you were actually in the courtroom and heard him about excited utterances, you really can’t say anything.

  8. Lola Zielinski says:

    Regarding fog Hank
    Common sense would be lost if this dog is euthenized.as he was a young dog at time his mother chased and interacted previously .Followinh his mother dog.
    A justified probation time frame to show him as a perfectly normal, non killing dog would appear to be more reasonable resolution.
    This would be the fair way and show his true nature
    .Please reconsider such a dire death sentence at this time.

  9. Peter Moss says:

    Yes there should be restrictions put on the(1st) dog owner ..Like he have to trained & educated on care & raising of dogs (if there is such thing)Until then not be able to own a dog. Good bye Tank -Hank ..10`s of thousand of un wanted dogs are being born as we speak..

  10. BleeBloo says:

    The county is trying to prevent liability, and rightfully so. Have the new owners sign a waiver so when the dog snaps and kills someone they can’t sue the taxpayers.

  11. MothersAgainstMeth says:

    We should be worrying about the erosion of our rights, tax burdens, and state run kidnapping for cash adoption schemes well in operation here in our county. Child services has a bounty on adoptable children called a “adoption bonus” They will make up lies about the parents (much like what happened to hank- false claims, labels) to steal children from good parents. The burden of proof is minimal. Many unnamed Judges and county officials are well aware of it and do not care. These so called GOP officials are nothing but country hating liberals are hell bent on having themselves a police state.

  12. Megan says:

    I don’t understand!!! What part of he didn’t do it, does he not understand?! That’s like saying because a child was with their parent during a crime, that it’s the child’s fault! You’re not gonna sentence a child for an adults crime unless it’s proven that the child was involved directly! That dog looks like he just wants to please! He deserves a chance at life and I don’t think it was a mistake that he was adopted out! If he was such a dangerous dog he wouldda been deemed unadoptable which is not the case! 🙁

  13. Patti A. says:

    It is absolutely ridiculous that the judge is considering to end this dog’s life when there is no evidence at all that he was actually involved in the death of the goats. Even if he was involved in the incident we are talking about goats, yes it is sad and they are animals and they did not deserve to die, but in this state they are considered property and can easily be replaced. The dangerous dog law was created to protect the public, meaning humans, from dangerous dogs that posed a potential harm TO HUMANS.
    In this instance although it was wrong and the owner should have had her dogs confined to her own yard, the goats are considered property and could have been replaced. We should not punish a dog with death for something that they have done naturally and that many dogs would do, nit just a pitbull. So, should we start euthanizing cats now and they catch birds? How about a hunting dog that kills chickens or otherwise game? Should we euthanize them? What if it had been reversed? What if the goats had killed a dog? Would we then euthanize the goats? Would we deem them is dangerous? How about when cows kick dogs and they die from the blow, should the cow now be slaughtered because it is deemed dangerous? This judge has taken this way too far. This dog is not dangerous to society as a whole. He has been removed and placed in an area where he will not pose harm to any livestock and from what I understand there is a wide community of people that are willing to provide training and other assessments to help ensure that this dog does not pose a danger to society ever again. Laws are here to protect us, not to arbitrarily punish a dog because of its breed and that is what we see here. Hank is a pitbull, so the judge wants him to die, even when the owner of the goats does not want that to happen. This is wrong and an abuse of the law by the judge who should know better.

  14. Judge Buzzard’s attitude from the very beginning was of arrogance and indignation — having to preside over such a trivial matter as a dog. Well, Judge Buzzard, to some people, that dog means an awful lot — something you apparently can’t understand. What was your real agenda the morning of June 19? Hank was a real issue. You had no intentions of dispensing fair justice to this precious animal.

    You had the approved amendment to save Hank — an amendment that was created specifically with him in mind — and you ignored it.

    When it comes time to vote, you will not ever get my vote, and I will remind everyone in Lewis County exactly why you, R. W. Buzzard, should never meter out justice(?) again. Your family can’t save you from being a despicable person. You shame the justice system.

  15. Bn says:

    You need to consult I a veterinarian judge. You have no training in dog pshycology. All you have to say is this dog can no longer be within XX feet of livestock. He gets along with other dogs in the household and is the many to children. He acted on instinct. His behavior was in fact instinct. Consult in a vet. Get a professional opinion.

  16. MothersAgainstMeth says:

    Better err on the side of caution then to let history repeat itself. Go get your self another dog. Dogs are replaceable.

  17. p maxwell says:

    Hank has more than proven him self, what is up with that judge? It is probably to much effort for judge buzzard to take into consideration the impact this has on children and family that have mutual trust with Hank. Very sad deal, to make a production line decision (this requires no thought just kill him and move on to the next case) instead of making an informed decision based on testimony.
    How do people sleep at night??

  18. A registered voter says:

    Bullshit.

  19. Teri C. says:

    I was at this hearing today and was appalled by the outcome. It is a mystery that Judge Buzzard disregarded testimony and video provided by the owner of the goats stating that Hank was NOT involved in the killing of the goats, rather Hanks mother, Sadie was the one who did the deed.
    One can only assume Mr. Buzzard is prejudice against the breed, indignant that a small group of animal activists were present, annoyed that a Bellingham attorney, Adam Karp, was representing Hank or perhaps he is on a ‘power trip.’
    Without batting an eye, Judge Buzzard sentenced an innocent, loving dog to death.
    Remember Judge Buzzard’s name when it comes time for re-election and vote this man off the bench…he has blood on his hands!

  20. Lois says:

    This is so so wrong on many levels. How can all these people testify on behalf of the dog, have NO proof that the dog did the deed, and an obviously biased judge still orders this poor dog put down!!?! This js an abhorrent abuse of power by Judge Buzzard. He appears to be the only one wanting to kill the dog?

  21. homesteader says:

    So when will Dannette York and Amy Nelson be in court for deliberately falsifying records and starting this whole fiasco? Oh, that’s right – “there was no intentional wrongdoing”!! Hmmm, “sorry officer, I did not intend to go 50 mph thru that school zone” Yeah, I’ll bet that will work.

  22. rose says:

    Wrong on so many levels. He followed his moms lead, animal instinct. I wish he could be saved.

  23. spottedgrowl says:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH JUDGE BUZZARD!?!?!? Hank aka Tank has PROVEN himself to be a good dog! And there is a responsible family that has had him for quite some time now with no violations of any kind with Hank!! Obviously they take good care of him and should be allowed to contunued to do so! Hank was a puppy at the time, following his Mom who actually killed the goat. You tell me one single thing on earth, animal or even people wise, that a youngster won’t follow and participate when mommy is trying to teach them something! I now a lady who has MANY (3 breeding females and several males as well) pit bulls. She usually has at least 2 or 3 at a time with her in her vehicle. The matriarch mother of her line was a dog that would FLIP OUT if she saw another dog through the car window or better yet, a cat or chicken. When out on a leash, she was VERY difficult to even hang on to when she saw a cat, chicken, or another dog. The lady let a neighbor take her and I was totally freaked out about it as the other neighbor as well as I do, have many chickens and a few cats. Dogs get out all the time-especially one like her that was hard to control. I just knew our pets death certificates had just been signed when she gave that dog to the neighbor!! That was about 6 months ago and she freely roams our rural neighborhood now, in amounst the chickens and cats without an issue!!!! Her son was the same way and is now a beloved dog that happily greats people coming into Bucoda! He is loved in that town and animals as well as people are met with wagging tails! Sometimes, a dog is a product of their envirnment. While my friend took good care of her dogs, there were just too many of them in too small of an area. Dogs react differently in different situations. Hank obviously isn’t Tank. Tank was a personality that has long been left behind! SAVE HANK!

  24. debra k goldsby says:

    NO !!!!! What is wrong with a society that punishes the actions of an Animal instead of the irresponsible owner. Shame on you !!

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