An Oklahoma woman has been arrested after breaking into an animal shelter hours before her dog was set to be euthanized for being dangerous.
Toya Stewart was arrested after spending days at home with her stolen dog.
Hazel the pit bull was impounded by Oklahoma City Animal Welfare after being involved in multiple biting incidents and a dog fight. “We originally impounded the dog due to dangerous charges being filed against the dog,” said Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Superintendent Jon Gary.
However, Stewart told KFOR that she never had any problems around their family.
“She doesn’t deserve it, and they knew that I loved her,” Stewart said. “Why would you kill somebody that somebody loved so much?”
Stewart got Hazel when the pit bull was just two months old and stayed with her through homelessness and an abusive relationship, Stewart told KFOR.
Hazel was placed in the shelter and ordered to be euthanized by a judge who reviews the incidents.
“I couldn’t let her die like that,” said Stewart. “I had to let her know that I’ve tried everything for her.”
Stewart said the grand plan came to her that very night in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the euthanasia. “I went to sleep that night and then it just popped into my head,” she told Fox 25. “I needed to appeal this. They cannot kill her yet and I have a chance to fight back.”
Stewart broke into the shelter, through a window according to Gary, prized open Hazel’s cage and the pair left together. The owner claimed they even “army crawled” out together before running through the woods.
After police tracked down Stewart and Hazel, the dog was taken back to the shelter and Stewart jailed.
Hazel has since been euthanized and no charges have been made against Stewart, but Fox 25 reports that she was booked on complaints of burglary and concealing stolen property.
Around 920,000 shelter animals in the US are euthanized annually—a number that has declined from 2.6 million in 2011.
In a story quite the opposite of Stewart’s desperation to keep her pit bull, a man was caught on CCTV last month dropping a dog off at a shelter in the night, just hours from death.
Olympus was found by a security guard at a Virginia shelter emaciated and showing signs of being close to death. Surveillance footage showed the apparent owner to have dropped the dog outside the shelter in the night, hours before he was found.
In a happy ending to the story, Olympus was adopted out to a loving family this weekend after beginning to recover.