Craig Dershowitz, 34, said in court papers his ex-girlfriend, Sarah Brega, "took unilateral control of Knuckles and kidnapped him" to California after they broke up, the New York Post reported Monday.
Dershowitz said he initially won a default judgment for the return of the puggle, a mix between a pug and a beagle, but Brega has now retained legal council and is fighting him in court, causing him to incur more than $60,000 in legal bills.
"Unfortunately, I don't have the money to keep it going. Not too many attorneys are working pro bono," he said.
Dershowitz said he started a Web site, indiegogo.com/rescueknux, to raise funds for the legal efforts to get his "son" back and artist friends have offered "perks" for contributors including a "Free Knux" T-shirt for $25, a YouTube video and song for $50, a professional portrait of the dog for $200 and $250 for a game of fetch with the dog when he "hopefully" returns to New York.