Rhea Mahbubani

Animal Rescue Group Accused of Forcibly Taking Away Woman's One-Eyed Poodle

An East Bay woman says she adopted a dog, only to have an animal rescue group take the poodle back – by force.

Now, Laurie Schwartz says she just wants Blinky back.

“I find it incredible I can love a dog with all my heart and soul, and be told that's not enough,” she said.

Schwartz said it was love at first sight. In early September, she adopted a one-eyed poodle from a Petsmart adoption fair hosted by rescue group HALO.

“I took it home and now I'm heartsick,” she said.

Schwartz told rescue group officials that she has a full-time job and no other pets. After paying them $300, she took the dog home and renamed him Blinky.

"I fed him and loved him and I knitted him a little jacket,” Schwartz said. “I treated him like he’s my little boy.”

But three weeks later, Schwartz said a HALO representative came to her Oakley house, insisting the poodle needs a stay-at-home mom and pet companions. The woman even complained about Blinky’s new name.

“Changing his name, letting him sleep on the sofa, I turned him into a coach potato,” Schwartz said. “I didn't realize I should have enrolled him in aerobics.”

But it's what happened next that left Schwartz devastated.

“I let her hold my dog when she asked to, and her and her friend went running out of the house with my dog,” Schwartz said.

The adoption contract says HALO has the right to remove an animal if its owner misrepresents him or herself, but Schwartz says that wasn't the case at all.

HALO issued the following statement Friday:

"We are taking this matter very seriously but just need to follow the proper channels before we can make a public statement. Please allow us our time to do our due diligence. The adopters check was never cashed and returned to her immediately."

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