You have probably heard the recent story of the theft of Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs and the shooting of her dog walker. If you have not, on February 24, 2021, around 9:40 p.m., Lady Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was accosted and shot, and two of her three French bulldogs were stolen. A local home security camera recorded the altercation. Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 no-questions-asked reward for the safe return of her dogs.
Reports are unclear if this was an attack targeted on the singer or on the dogs themselves due to the value of French bulldogs. According to Reader’s Digest, in 2020, French bulldogs were one of the top ten most often stolen dog breeds. French bulldog puppies, depending on the age and bloodline, can range from $2500 to $20,000 per dog. TMZ.com interviewed the owner of French Bulldog Puppies Los Angeles. They noted that thefts of Frenchies were on the rise due to high demand and people willing to pay top dollar for the breed. French Bulldogs LA recommends that if you own a Frenchie, have them microchipped. Microchipping is one way to identify animals that have been lost or stolen, as most veterinarians and animal shelters scan animals when brought in for care. While there has been a massive crackdown on dog-fighting rings, family pets are still stolen for use as bait and training dogs, but that disgusting topic is for another conversation.
One of the big issues in this story is that Lady Gaga’s offer of a $500,000 no-questions-asked reward could lead to targeted attacks on celebrities and other affluent pet owners. Offering such a reward for the return of animals could also cause roadblocks in the official investigation of this crime. At the time of this article, the dogs were returned by a person the Los Angeles Police Department determined was not involved in the incident.
The biggest issue of this story that hopefully is not lost is that an innocent dog walker, earning a living, was shot for a couple of dogs. Being an animal lover and owner of five Siberian Huskies, which is also one of the top ten stolen breeds, I entirely understand doing whatever you can to get your dogs back. Each one is a member of the family and owns a special place in my heart. I cannot say I was shocked that the first Instagram post from Lady Gaga was about her dogs. Still, I agree with those that say offering such a reward for their return could create issues in the investigation of the shooter. Articles are circulating online where dog walkers are now fearful of being assaulted or killed for the dogs they are caring for. Some dog walkers are considering self-defense classes, while others are willing to arm themselves for protection.