A Manhattan tattoo artist claims that his ex-girlfriend has kidnapped his beloved dog—and now he's been forced to sue to try to get his "son" back. Craig Dershowitz says that ex-girlfriend Sarah Brega "took unilateral control" of his puggle Knuckles, whisking him away to California after their breakup. "You say it is an extraordinary step but I think most pet owners would agree with me. Knuckles is my son, my heart—you would fight just as hard to protect your own children."

Dershowitz, who works at an art gallery and is also the founder of Artists4Israel, says he feels the lawsuit is his last recourse, after his appeals to Brega's "sense of justice and, in general, her emotions" didn't work. Dershowitz says he got Knuckles—aka Knux—from a NJ family who had a litter of puggles: "I chose the name 'Knuckles' because he was the littlest yet most spirited of the litter. He looked like a scrapper."

He and Brega, who lived together for four years, broke up last March. Dershowitz says it was always clear he was Knux's owner—he's the registered owner, and the one who paid for his vet bills, food, "support, upkeep and maintenance." While Dershowitz was looking for a new place to live, they "agreed upon temporary joint custody" of Knux and split time with him. Eventually, Brega stopped returning his calls and took Knux to California with her in December.

"He is the most tender dog—just a sensitive, human-like soul," Dershowitz said. "If there was a way to describe or share the experience of being with Knuckles I would. My words don’t even begin to do him justice." Whoa whoa whoa, hold up there buddy: that whole "soul" business is still being decided by the courts, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.