‘Rescue Knux': New Yorker Spends $60,000 Fighting Dog Custody Battle

Craig Dershowitz has spent his life savings trying to win custody of his puggle Knuckles back from his ex-girlfriend, and now he's turning to the Internet for help.

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After a breakup, it’s common for former flames to split up their shared possessions – one gets the TV, one gets the dishes – but what do you do about the dog? It doesn’t divide too well. And, frankly, most people are far more attached to their pooch than to the living room curtains.

That’s why one New Yorker has spent more than $60,000 waging a legal battle to win back Knuckles, his beloved puggle, from his ex-girlfriend.  Craig Dershowitz claims his ex “dognapped” Knuckles when she moved to California after their breakup; while he says a New York court has ruled in his favor, he now faces a California custody trial to get back the dog he’s nicknamed “Knux.”

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With his life savings exhausted, the 34-year-old art gallery employee has now created a website, Rescue Knux, to solicit funds from dog lovers and ex-haters alike. In the video appeal that tops the site, Dershowitz tears up talking about Knuckles, whom he calls his “son.” “He snores like an old man. His whole butt wiggles when he wags his tail,” Dershowitz says of the beagle-pug mix, reminiscing about taking Knuckles to “puppy kindergarten.”

Sarah Brega, Dershowitz’ ex-girlfriend – who is not-so-subtly depicted as Cruella de Vil in Dershowitz’s video – says he “unconditionally gifted” the dog to her, according to the New York Post, and claims that Knuckles’ life is better on the West Coast anyway. Compared to his cramped previous existence in the couple’s New York City apartment, “Knuckles lives a happy and healthy life in California with me, where he has ample room to play, and lives in close proximity to a beach for off-leash dog-park outings,” Brega said in court documents. Derschowitz counters that Brega, with the backing of her wealthy family, is forcing him to burn through his savings by continually filing “crazy, frivolous motions” in court, knowing that it costs him hundreds of dollars every time to respond. The couple dated for four years and broke up in March, 2011, but were sharing custody of Knuckles until November, the Today Show reports.

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On his Kickstarter-like page, Dershowitz is offering perks for donations, ranging from a virtual kiss from Knux for $10 up to a customized graffiti mural for $10,000. He explained Tuesday on The Today Show that many of his creative friends have offered their services to help spur donations: a filmmaker will shoot your personalized movie; a wardrobe stylist will take you on a shopping tour; or a musician will immortalize you in song in exchange for help with Dershowitz’s legal bills. He hopes to collect $20,000 to finish the legal battle and bring Knuckles back home.

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