Woman who turned in Lady Gaga's stolen dogs — and got arrested — sues for $500,000 reward
A woman who was convicted after turning in two of Lady Gaga's French bulldogs stolen in a violent robbery is suing the pop star, arguing she was never paid a $500,000 reward promised for the dogs' return.
Two months after pleading no contest to receiving stolen property, Jennifer McBride, 52, filed suit Friday in a Los Angeles court, alleging that Lady Gaga went back on an offer to pay the reward with "no questions asked."
McBride's connection to the robbery was unclear when she walked into a Los Angeles police station with the dogs, asking about the money Lady Gaga had offered on social media.
She told officers she had found the dogs tied to a pole in the days after the February 2021 robbery, police said. As the investigation continued, authorities found McBride had a relationship with the father of one of two men accused of stealing Lady Gaga's pets in a brazen attack in Hollywood.
The men jumped out of a white sedan in the 1500 block of North Sierra Bonita Avenue and demanded Lady Gaga's dog walker hand over the animals. The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, struggled with the robbers and was shot once in the chest by one of the assailants. He survived.
The man who shot Fischer, James Howard Jackson, was sentenced in December to 21 years in prison after pleading no contest to a charge of attempted murder. An accomplice pleaded no contest to a firearms charge.
McBride's lawsuit alleges Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, "never intended to honor their unilateral offer to pay the reward money of $500,000."
The lawsuit also argues that McBride was questioned about her role despite "representations" that the reward would be paid for the return of the dogs with "no questions asked."
"The truth was that [Lady Gaga] intended to have its agents and/or law enforcement to ask questions of [McBride] regarding the circumstances surrounding [McBride's] return of [Lady Gaga's] French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav," the suit states.
The lawsuit does not mention the arrest and conviction of McBride, who was sentenced to two years of probation.
Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michele Hanisee said evidence showed McBride was aware that the dogs had been stolen before she tried to return them.
"Absolutely," she said in an interview. "She was aware, and it was very clear that she was aware the dogs were stolen."
McBride took the dogs from the pole, but video showed that she had been in the area, apparently waiting.
"She was pacing back and forth," Hanisee said, "waiting for the dogs to be dropped off."
When someone in a Jeep dropped off the dogs and tied them to a pole, video showed McBride immediately walking over and grabbing them.
The car was being driven by a man who has not been identified by authorities, Hanisee said.
According to the lawsuit, McBride has suffered pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of not being paid the $500,000 reward.
McBride, who is still on probation, is asking not just for the reward but also $1.5 million in damages.
If Lady Gaga should suffer any financial loss as a result of the lawsuit, however, McBride and the other defendants might ultimately be responsible for that loss, Hanisee said.
Prosecutors sought restitution from two of three of the defendants as a result of Fischer's medical bills from the shooting. If Lady Gaga were to suffer financially from the lawsuit, prosecutors could seek restitution from McBride on behalf of the singer.
"Should Lady Gaga suffer a financial loss in this crime, which I would argue that would include being required to pay a reward," Hanisee said, "that would be a financial loss."
That restitution could include interest, and it could also mean all of the defendants would be responsible for it, she said.
A representative for Lady Gaga did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.