NOTE: Toya Stewart said a balloon release will be held in honor of Hazel at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 6 at the Animal Welfare Center.
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.
Toya Stewart was arrested and is now accused of breaking into the animal shelter after taking off with her pit bull.
The metro woman spoke to KFOR Friday and told us she had just been released from jail after going to the shelter to take her best friend Hazel. This was all after officials deemed the dog 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?”
Toya Stewart said she got Hazel when the dog was two months old. It was her service dog out of what she said was an abusive relationship and at a time when she became homeless.
“She helped me through a lot,” Toya said. “She protected me through this relationship and protected me through life.”
However, superintendent with Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Jon Gary said Hazel had some issues.
“We originally impounded the dog due to dangerous charges being filed against the dog,” Gary said.
Stewart said Hazel had been involved in multiple biting incidents and one dog fight. However, Toya said she never had any problems around their family.
“She was just real protective,” she said.
Whenever the dog was put in the shelter and ordered to be euthanized by a judge that 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 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,” Stewart 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 Toya was taken to jail.
“She stayed beside me,” Stewart said. “She just doesn’t deserve that.”
It should be noted, no official charges have been filed yet. Stewart and Gary both told us that Hazel has since been euthanized as part of a judge’s orders.
Stewart contacted KFOR on Saturday and said a balloon release in honor of Hazel will held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Animal Welfare Center.