Media Coverage of Hank’s Law

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October 26th, 2018


A 24-year-old Spokane man convicted in an Idaho animal cruelty case was sentenced to local jail after a two-hour hearing Thursday in Coeur d’Alene.

Austin Matott was sentenced to the maximum 180 days in jail for two misdemeanors including cruelty to animals and beating or harassing animals. The case started in the summer of 2017 near Hauser when a dog named Hank sustained fatal injuries.

First District Magistrate Judge Robert Burton suspended part of the sentence, calling for a total of around five months behind bars and two years of supervised probation. Matott was convicted earlier this year.

The judge called Matott cowardly for his part in the death of the small dog and for failing to appear at an earlier sentencing. Matott was later arrested on a warrant.

Mr. Matott did commit this crime and it definitely is a crime,” Burton said. “These injuries were so severe (the necropsy) couldn’t tell which one of the injuries caused the death.”

He called Matott’s testimony “totally not believable,” and said Matott attempted to cover up the cause of the dog’s injuries that included broken ribs, head and jaw bruises, a brain hemorrhage, ruptured liver and lacerated lung.

Deputy prosecutor Art Verharen asked the court for a stiffer sentence — not just for the fatal beating of the dog or for Matott’s unwillingness to take responsibility, but for “the level of deception that’s going on here.”

“The worst thing I can think of is what he has done to his family and friends,” Verharen said. “He’s convinced them he didn‘t do that.”

September 19th, 2018

Convicted Idaho dog killer arrested in Washington

A man convicted for killing a dog in Kootenai County was arrested by the Okanogan County deputies on Friday.

Austin Stephen Matott was released from jail on a $25,000 bond on Tuesday. He was pulled over for a routine traffic stop a few days beforehand.

Matott was wanted in Idaho for skipping his sentencing hearing last month, August 7. He was found guilty of two charges of animal abuse and cruelty.

August 7th, 2018

Warrant set for man convicted of animal abuse after he skips sentencing

A judge issued a warrant for the arrest of 24-year-old Austin Matott Tuesday morning after he failed to show up to court to be sentenced for animal cruelty and harassment

Matott‘s roommate, Dakota Goin, asked him to watch her 11-month-old dog Hank in July 2017. He called and said something had happened and that she needed to come home. Goin found her dog bleeding in a towel, motionless. She rushed him to a Spokane Valley veterinarian but it was too late.

Matott claimed the dog injured itself after it jumped less than four feet off a porch. A WSU veterinarian performed an autopsy and found brain injuries, internal bleeding, broken facial bones, and several broken ribs. The vet concluded the dog would have had to have fallen from three stories or higher to sustain the injuries it did.

April 7th, 2018

Push to toughen punishment for animal abuse in Idaho expands

New legislation is being drafted to increase the penalty for people who hurt pets in Idaho

This move comes after a dog in Idaho was beaten to death by its dog-sitter last year. Dakota Goin left her dog Hank in the care of a neighbor. When she came home, Hank had suffered trauma to his head, internal bleeding and had broken ribs. He died on the way to the veterinarian’s office. Austin Matott, the person watching Hank, was found guilty of animal cruelty and harassment, which is a misdemeanor in Idaho

March 29th, 2018

Owner of murdered dog calls for tougher animal abuse laws

The owner of a dog beaten to death by its dog-sitter is calling on Idaho lawmakers to pass tougher animal abuse laws

Dakota Goin, 19, didn’t think twice about asking her former roommate to watch her 11-month-old dog Hank last July. But hours after she left, Goin got a phone call she wasn’t prepared for.

Austin Matott, the friend watching Hank, called and said something had happened and that she needed to come home. Goin and her boyfriend did just that. She found her dog bleeding in a towel, motionless. Goin and her boyfriend rushed the animal to a Spokane Valley vet, but it was too late.

March 28th, 2018

‘Justice for Hank’ dog-beating trial ends in guilty verdict

After nearly a year of campaigning, investigating and pleading, it appears a family’s pursuit to find “Justice for Hank” may be coming to a close.

On March 21, a North Idaho jury found Austin Matott guilty on two separate counts of cruelty to animals and harassment of an animal after he was charged with beating an 11-month-old Corgi and Red Heeler mix named Hank to death last July. Each count comes with a maximum sentence of six months, or one year behind bars if sentenced consecutively.

“It’s a relief,” said Jennifer Cook, the mother of the dog’s owner. “It’s the sense that he didn’t get away with it. It wasn’t all for nothing. That he will be held accountable for what he did.”

March 24th, 2018


Jennifer Cook believes justice has been served for the death of a corgi-red heeler mix that a veterinarian called “morbidly concerning.”

Sentencing for Austin Matott, 23, will be on June 6 after a jury convicted him this week on both counts related to the July 2017 death of Hank, an 11-month-old dog that was owned by Matott‘s former roommate, Dakota Peacock.

Matott was charged by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office with cruelty to and beating an animal — both misdemeanors in Idaho — at a Hauser home.

September 26th, 2017

Two Idaho women use beating death of dog as catalyst to toughen Idaho cruelty laws

It was a dog owner’s worst nightmare that fueled a mother and daughter’s fight for harsher animal cruelty laws in Idaho.

The story starts with a frantic text from a roommate, a hurried trip to the pet emergency room and the grave news that the dog’s heart is no longer beating. Dakota Goin and her mother Jennifer Cook hope it ends with Idaho legislators toughening laws to treat cruelty to animals as a felony.

The state is now one of four in the country to treat most cases of cruelty to animals instead as misdemeanors.

“In the future, it would be nice to see that somebody else doesn’t get away with doing the same thing to an animal,” the 18-year-old Goin said. “It’s awful. I know that without the laws being changed, he’ll just get basically a slap on the wrist.”

August 19th, 2017


The alleged beating of a dog that a veterinarian calls “morbidly concerning” has the owner and others demanding tougher laws on animal cruelty cases in Idaho.

Hank, an 11-month-old red heeler/corgi mix owned by Dakota Peacock, was allegedly beaten last month by 22-year-old Austin Matott, who was one of her former roommates in Hauser.

Peacock said Hank died in her arms as she was taking him to a veterinarian. Matott has been charged with a misdemeanor of cruelty to animals and a misdemeanor of beating or harassing animals.

August 14th, 2017

Family upset by ‘slap on the wrist’ charges in animal cruelty case that killed dog

“Nothing is going to undo the damage that was done.”

A family grieving over the loss of their beloved dog, Hank.

“He passed away in Dakota’s arms,” Jennifer Cook said.