French bulldog owners are terrified after Lady Gaga robbery
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The Frenchie connection: Pups like Gaga’s may fetch thousands on black market
For French bulldog owners, life is ruff.
In February, Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot and two of her three pet Frenchies were stolen, only to be found days later tied to a pole by a Good Samaritan.
The singer offered a $500,000 reward for the safe return of her little monsters, Gustav and Koji.
But owners who can’t spend that kind of dough on their doggies have reason to fear their pets might be next.
In 2021 alone, there have been a string of similarly sinister French bulldog thefts around the country: In January, a San Francisco woman was attacked at gunpoint by thieves who stole her 5-month-old pup, while robbers shot at a Texas couple with an AR-15 before grabbing their bulldog. Just last week, a Frenchie was yanked from a San Jose, California, backyard.
Closer to home, a Frenchie was swiped from a Westchester County pet shop in February of 2020.
Frenchie owners have been voicing their concerns on Twitter.
“First a lady in Cali & now Lady Gaga’s frenchie dogs get stolen!!! It makes me scared to walk my little guy. I think I’m definitely gonna invest in protection,” wrote one user.
“I’m honestly scared to walk too far with [my dog because] a lot of these situations are premeditated. All dog owners, especially Frenchie owners, make sure you change up your route when you walk them!” warned another.
A veteran NYC Frenchie breeder said that owners should be on their toes.
“You might as well put $7,000 on a leash and walk around the street,” James Harrison, who runs the breeding company Ethical Frenchie, told The Post. “It looks that tempting to someone who could a use a quick thousand dollars.”
It’s a problem he’s familiar with: Two of his customers have reported to him that their pups were stolen.
The FBI states that the average take in a bank robbery is $6,500. “[French bulldogs] are an easy target. It’s significantly easier to walk off with someone’s French bulldog than to rob a bank,” said Harrison.
Frenchie thefts have “been upticking so significantly that it was only a matter of time that it happened to dogs that belong to a celebrity,” he explained.
Harrison said that Frenchies generally cost between $3,000 and $9,000, with extra rare colors fetching anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. Because they’re in such high demand, there’s an “immediate crazy resale market.” Sometimes, thieves will sell the stolen dogs to breeders who are interested in introducing a rare color into their collection. Or they’ll sell them directly to pet owners, who don’t realize their pup used to belong to someone else.
“It’s kind of like a stolen iPhone: By the time it ends up on Craigslist, it may have passed through three or four hands,” said Harrison.
Aside from being adorable, Frenchies love to cuddle and are ideal for those living in apartments since they are relatively quiet and don’t need too much exercise. Their reputation for being low maintenance may also explain their “It” dog status with celebrities such as Hilary Duff, Hugh Jackman and Madonna.
Harrison does a “straight talk” with potential owners whom he works with to let them know about the danger they could be in. “Because of the hyper-popularity of the dog, you’re more at risk of this happening to you than someone walking a golden retriever,” he said, since the French bulldog is comparatively rare. “You have to be aware of it.”
Still, Harrison doubts the easygoing dogs will see a dip in popularity.
“You’ll probably see fewer being walked around in public,” he said. But, “because they don’t really care for walks, that’s not much of a health concern.”
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