Puppy love applies only to the dog in bitter custody battle

Craig Dershowitz naps with puppy Knuckles in an old family photo. He's fighting to get the dog back from his ex.

Story highlights

  • New York man says his ex dognapped Knuckles when she moved to California
  • Sarah Brega argues Craig Dershowitz "gifted" canine to her
  • Dershowitz has started a website to publicize his plight and raise money for legal fees
  • Brega tells ABC that her ex "wants revenge"; she tells HLN that Knuckles is happy with her
Sadly, there's not enough of Knuckles, floppy ears and all, to go around -- particularly when the two people feuding over custody of the pug-beagle mix are separated by thousands of miles.
Craig Dershowitz of New York recently turned to the Internet to pay for ongoing legal costs in his battle with ex-girlfriend Sarah Brega, now living in Southern California.
He calls it a case of kidnapping, er, dognapping.
"All I want is to bring Knuckles back home to me," said Dershowitz in a video on a website he set up. "He really is my son. I raised Knuckles since he was 2 months old."
Dershowitz said he has spent more than $30,000 in the court battle and is willing to go up to $60,000 in debt to get Knuckles back to the East Coast. He had raised $3,000 by late Tuesday afternoon.
For $10, a donor can receive a virtual smooch from Knuckles. A T-shirt will cost you $25; a signed and numbered professional portrait is going for $200.
In the video, Dershowitz wipes his eyes when describing Knuckles' tail-wagging and snores.
"In a lot of ways, he is like my son. He is absolutely the cutest dog in the entire universe," Dershowitz said. On his website, Dershowitz contends a court has awarded him custody but Brega continuously files "frivolous" motions in a bid to bankrupt him.
Brega wouldn't throw her ex a bone in any interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."
"I think that it's about revenge on me," she said. "Knuckles has been with me since he was 8 weeks old. I really can't imagine my life without him."
In a statement to HLN, CNN's sister network, Brega said Knuckles is "incredibly healthy and happy here with me."
She said Dershowitz gave up his one-half ownership when he "unconditionally gifted Knuckles to me."
The dog has not been in New York since October 2010 and Dershowitz waited until a year had gone by and was unsuccessful in reconciliation before filing suit, Brega argued. Her former four-year boyfriend, she said, has presented inconsistent facts to the media and in New York and California court documents.
"He wants revenge, and using an innocent dog is his way of harassing me and getting attention at the same time," Brega wrote.
A California judge will hear arguments on Wednesday, according to ABC.