Woman breaks into animal control to get her dog back before it’s euthanized

Relaxing hazelnut. (Image courtesy of the Stewart family)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City woman said she broke into the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Building to retrieve her dog Hazel, who was hours away from being euthanized for being unsafe.

Toya Stewart has been arrested and is now charged with breaking into the animal shelter after taking off with the pit bull.

Stewart told KFOR on Friday that she had just been released from prison after going to the shelter to take Hazel after authorities deemed the dog dangerous.

“She didn’t deserve it, and they knew I loved her,” Stewart said. “Why would you kill someone someone 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 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 against the dog,” Gary said.

Stewart said Hazel was involved in several biting incidents and a dog fight. However, Stewart said she never had any issues with their family.

“She was just very protective,” she said.

When the dog was taken to the shelter and ordered to be euthanized by a judge who reviewed the incidents, Stewart decided to sue her.

The photo goes with the story
Hazel outside. (Image courtesy of the Stewart family)

“I couldn’t let her die like this,” Stewart said. “I had to let her know that I had 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 breaking in, she opened Hazel’s cage and left.

“We the army crawled together under that fence to get out of there,” Stewart said. “We ran off into the woods.”

Stewart said she kept Hazel in her home for a few days until police found them. Hazel was taken to safety while Stewart was taken to jail.

“She stayed by my side,” Stewart said. “She just doesn’t deserve this.”

No formal charges have yet been filed. Both Stewart and Gary told KFOR that Hazel had since been euthanized on the orders of a judge.