My name is Jennifer Hochman. My husband, Craig, and I are looking for help in getting our dog, Lilo, back home. We do not currently know where she is.
Like many families in 2020, we got a puppy during the height of COVID. His name is Stitch, and he is such a joy to have in our lives. When an opportunity came up to bring home his sister from the same parents, the breeder dazzled us with a "guardianship program," which allowed us to provide a home for his sister at no charge, and they retained breeding rights. After substantial research on my end, the terms of the contract seemed within the ethical breeding guidelines, so we agreed. We brought her home two days before Christmas and named her Lilo. She and Stitch immediately bonded and became almost inseparable.
Lilo was in a guardianship program, which allowed us to bring her home at no charge and the dog breeder retained breeding rights for a certain amount of time. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lilo had her first litter of puppies in our home last summer. She went into her second heat in March of this year, and, as is part of our agreement, she went to stay with the breeder. She never reached breedable hormone levels, so she came home. She had lost a significant amount of weight, we believe due to the stress of being away from us, and we decided we wanted to buy out of the agreement for her best interest.
We made them a cash offer based on what was stated in the agreement in an effort to buy out of Lilo’s guardianship so she could become strictly our pet; our child. When we went to meet with them, they instead took drastic measures to take Lilo away from us. They told us if we want to see her again, we have to pay them $60,000.
We're seeking your help in covering the legal costs to take them to court and get our baby back. The cost of an attorney alone is highly expensive and could result in thousands of additional dollars afterwards to allow us to bring her home.
In light of this experience, Craig and I would also like to start a nonprofit organization to, at the very least, help other guardians who may need legal representation across the country. With most guardianship programs being no cost to the guardian, there are likely others out there who have needed legal assistance but did not have the funds or resources to get it. If we are fortunate enough to raise more funds than we need, anything additional will go toward this cause or to support other pets in need.
Please help us to fight to bring our Lilo home. This entire experience has been extremely traumatic, and our grief is beyond what we can even try to describe. Craig and I don't have human children. Our dogs are our children, and we will give everything we have to defend and protect them. We humbly ask that you help us have a chance. Our hearts are so broken right now. We know Lilo is terrified. We just want to bring our baby home.