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Lady Gaga has come under fire for her ‘no questions asked‘ $500,000 reward for her two stolen dogs.
Former FBI Agent Frank Montoya Jr blasted her decision to offer the money, saying that it imperils the LAPD's investigation and creates an incentive for criminals to steal celebrity dogs and return them for exorbitant sums.
Family friend Ryan Fischer was walking Lady Gaga's French bulldogs on Wednesday night around 10 pm in West Hollywood when he was attacked and shot in the chest by dog snatchers who stole two of the three dogs, The Daily Mail reported. Mr Fischer was hospitalized in critical condition, according to People.
It's not clear whether the snatchers targeted the pop star's dogs specifically, but French bulldogs are in high demand and can go for as much as $10,000 if they have a pedigree lineage, and usually cost between $3,000 and $5,000 if purchased from a trusted breeder. Other thefts of the breed have been reported in LA.
Mr Montoya, who worked for the FBI from 1991 to 2016, told The Daily Mail: "It’s always been an option for opportunistic criminals. But... paying, no questions asked, can open up a Pandora’s box of sorts. She should give the investigation a chance. After all, the dogs notwithstanding, a human being was shot."
LA lawyer Louis Shapiro told the Mail: "This is an unusual reward amount. We don’t really know if this $500k reward is in fact a no-questions-asked offer. There’s no contract made here. It could just be a ruse to lure in whoever did this."
After the shooting of Mr Fischer, Hollywood dog walkers are now looking for ways to defend themselves. Dog walking companies are upping security and changing their schedules to avoid another violent snatching. The owner of Happy Heart Pet Care, Anna-Marie Arredondo, told TMZ that she's looking into getting a weapon's permit in order to carry a firearm.
She's also considering martial arts classes and will only be walking in well-lit areas if she's walking at night. Renee Lutz, the owner of Fetch! Pet Care said she will give her dog walkers pepper spray, flashlights, and completely end walks at night. Alyssa and Saul, the owners of Troop Canine, may be fitting walkers with body cameras.
The American Kennel Club say that French bulldogs are the fourth most popular breed in the US. The breed went from spot 76 to number four on the list over the most popular breeds in the US in just 20 years, PBS writes.
Tara Bruno, founder of SNORT Rescue in New Jersey, which rescues bulldogs, told People that French bulldogs are among the most stolen dog breeds because they are small, portable, popular, and expensive.
"The motive is resale. Thieves know they can get a couple thousand dollars for them," she told People.