Pop star Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav, who were stolen in a violent altercation in Los Angeles that left a man fighting for his life, police and a source close to the singer have said.
The dogs were stolen at gunpoint from a 30-year-old man, identified in multiple media reports as the singer’s dog walker, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed.
The man remains in critical condition after he was shot with a semi-automatic handgun on Sierra Bonita Avenue in Hollywood on Wednesday night, police said.
Gaga, who was in Rome filming a movie when the dogs were stolen, has not commented personally on the theft.
However, a source close to the singer said she was urging anyone who has the dogs to contact email@example.com to return her pets and claim the reward, no questions asked.
A third dog, Miss Asia, escaped and was later recovered.
Series of thefts
The incident is the latest of several violent thefts of French bulldogs in the United States in recent months.
In January, a woman in San Francisco was attacked by thieves brandishing a gun who stole her French bulldog puppy. In October, a North Carolina breeder was held at gunpoint by thieves who made off with five puppies.
The dogs, which can sometimes be sold for several-thousand dollars each, have long been a target of thieves because they are expensive and difficult to breed, said Brandi Hunter, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club. It recommends owners refrain from posting pictures of their Frenchies on social media, particularly if the photos include identifying information about where the owners live.
What is new about the recent thefts is the level of violence used, said Andy López, vice-president of the French Bulldog Rescue Network.
Mr López said he has installed security cameras around his property to protect his dogs from thieves as well as predators.
On Thursday, celebrity gossip site TMZ posted a video that it said was recorded by a neighbour’s security camera and shows the dog walker being attacked. In the grainy images, a man screams “help me” as he appears to struggle with two people who pull up in a white car, before a gunshot is heard. – Reuters