OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City woman said she broke into the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare building to take back her dog Hazel, which was hours away from being euthanized for being dangerous. Toya Stewart was arrested and is now accused of breaking into the animal shelter after taking off with the pit bull.
On Friday, NEWS10’s sister station in Oklahoma City caught up with Stewart, who’d just been released from jail for taking the dog from the shelter. Hazel was put there after officials had deemed her to be dangerous.
“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 said she got Hazel when the dog was two months old. It was her dog through what she said was an abusive relationship and when she was homeless. “She helped me through a lot,” Stewart said. “She protected me through this relationship and protected me through life.”
However, Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Superintendent Jon Gary said Hazel had some issues. “We originally impounded the dog due to dangerous charges being filed against the dog,” he said.
Stewart said Hazel had been involved in multiple biting incidents and one dog fight. However, Stewart said she never had any problems around their family. “She was just real protective,” she said.
When the dog was put in the shelter and ordered to be euthanized by a judge who reviewed the incidents, Stewart decided to go after her. “I couldn’t let her die like that,” Stewart said. “I had to let her know that I’ve tried everything for her.”
“We have a secure area that was broken into, and they were able to break a window and get into the building,” Gary said.
Stewart said that after she broke in, she pried Hazel’s cage open and took off. “We army crawled together under this fence to get out of there,” she said. “We took off running through the woods.”
Stewart said she kept Hazel at her home for a few days until police tracked them down. Hazel was put back in the shelter while Stewart was taken to jail.
“She stayed beside me,” Stewart said. “She just doesn’t deserve that.”
No official charges have been filed yet. Stewart and Gary both said that Hazel has since been euthanized as part of a judge’s orders.