Why Lady Gaga’s Dognapping Has Stumped Pet Detectives
Instagram / Lady Gaga
Jamie Katz has seen a lot in her seven years as a detective.
She had a case of a man who was walking his dog at 5:00 am when "a car pulled up and only four to five people got out and started beating him." The attackers kicked the dog during the attack and caused it to run away.
In another case, a customer had his French Bulldog stolen from his crate in his home, along with $ 10,000 in cash.
But even she was surprised at the dramatic theft of Lady Gaga's two French bulldogs, who were squeezed off a street in Los Angeles on Wednesday night by unidentified assailants who shot and killed the pop star's dog walker. The dogs were returned unharmed late Friday, but the suspects remain at large.
"Help me!": A disturbing video shows how moment thieves shot Lady Gaga's dog walkers
Of the 700 lost pet cases Katz has taken on since she started her Florida agency in late 2015, "I only had 4 percent that were actually stolen," Katz said.
Most of the time, Katz is dealing with desperate owners who believe their pets have been stolen - when they have actually just run away or been picked up by a concerned passer-by.
Given the added violence from the Lady Gaga "Now it's more of a missing person case" that police are best at dealing with, the licensed P.I. told The Daily Beast.
A shocking video showed a white car pulling up next to dog walker Ryan Fischer and several robbers who surrounded him late Wednesday night. When he refused to give up the pups, he was shot. "Help me! I'm bleeding to death. You shot me in my [unintelligible] heart. You stole two dogs. Oh my God. Please help me," one hears Fischer screaming.
Two dogs, Koji and Gustav, were captured while Fischer was able to hold onto a third, Asia. Fischer remained in the hospital in critical condition on Friday, but his family said in a statement to Rolling Stone that he is likely to make a full recovery.
“Of course we would also like to thank Lady Gaga, who has shown nothing but uninterrupted love and concern for Ryan and our family from the start. Ryan loves Gustavo and Koji as much as Lady Gaga does; That is why we join her plea for her to return safely, ”the statement reads.
Although the crime was malicious, the motive is unlikely to be complicated.
"People steal dogs for two main reasons, both out of greed: they want the dog or they want to sell the dog," said Brandi Hunter, vice president of public affairs for the American Kennel Club.
Katz sometimes saw a third reason: a "retaliatory situation" in which an animal was stolen for "something that person did".
A police car drives past Lady Gaga's Dognapping in Los Angeles.
Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
French Bulldogs weighing less than 28 pounds can cost potential owners thousands. They are the fourth most popular breed out of 197 dog breeds listed on the American Kennel Club website.
"Popular, smaller-stature breeds are the most common targets - Frenchies, Yorkies, Shih Tzus," Hunter said.
Lady Gaga's father, Joe Germanotta, told CNN on Friday that they are "hoping for an act of kindness so we can get the dogs back". And the singer offered a $ 500,000 reward for the return of her beloved pets.
However, unlike human hostages, stolen dogs are rarely returned to their original owners.
"Ransom is not an everyday occurrence when it comes to dog theft," said Hunter. “The thief decides to sell. There is no great desire to give the dog back to you. We don't see many cases like Lady Gaga's. "
That's not to say that extortion money for dogs is unknown. In November, a suspected thief in Gainesville, Florida, stole a pit bull and tried to hold it for a $ 25,000 ransom, despite being caught before any money was exchanged.
Other dramatic dognappings have also made headlines in recent months. In December, 7-year-old dachshund Luca was stolen from a New York couple from a grocery store and sold to new owners for between $ 100 and $ 500. In January, two suspected Dognapper from Las Vegas posed as buyers for three puppies worth $ 4,000 each before arresting the owner at gunpoint and escaping with the English bulldogs.
If Katz were hired to solve Lady Gaga's case - hypothetically - the first thing she would speak to the dog owner and the police who are running the case.
She wants to know "what's going on right now," which may not be publicly known.
"I'm going through the case and going through the who, what, when, where, how" questions to understand the situation and see what's going on, "said Katz.
Next, she said she was going to find out which way the police were going. Did you think it was a targeted attack? Then she would “go the other way around” and try to see if the attack was accidental. "That way we would have a whole case, which means that every side is examined and you have no holes," said Katz, emphasizing that she is not involved in the Lady Gaga case.
The crime of dognapping has a long history beyond Lady Gaga, similar to the ancient crime of robbing graves to provide scientists with illegal corpses. The main targets of Dognappers for fencing stolen dogs were once medical researchers. In 1966, however, the Animal Welfare Act severely restricted procurement and testing with dogs. A longtime dog thief testified before Congress about his profession as part of the trial. The shift resulted in thieves selling to breeders more often.
As early as 1846, Dognapper targeted a spaniel named Flush, owned by the sister of the poet Elizabeth Barrett, while the two were shopping together in London. The dog had been kept on a leash outside a shop. Barrett then undertook to rescue the puppy. The theft and return of the beast inspired a book by Virginia Woolf, Flush: A Biography, published in 1933.
Notable dognappings vary by region. In Ireland, where dog racing is popular, a € 1 million greyhound was stolen from its kennel in 2016.
Your dog is also afraid of pandemics
The kidnapping of Lady Gaga's dogs is not part of a larger pattern in the US, according to Hunter. (In the UK, experts say last year was the "worst ever" for animal theft.)
The coronavirus pandemic has skyrocketed the demand for pets, with desperate New Yorkers adopting or caring for almost every available dog and cat in town in March 2020. Despite the apparent economics, the high demand increases prices, which in turn creates incentives for thieves - The American Kennel Club has not seen a significant increase in dognappings as lockdown continued. Orders that stay at home may even be the reason kidnappings haven't increased.
"During the pandemic, with so many people at home, we didn't see any increase in pet thefts," Hunter said. "People are at home with their dogs and can give them more attention."
She said the best way to deal with dognapping is to make sure you are well covered. Install a microchip in your pet's collar and tag it with accurate contact information. Don't leave it unattended by a store or in the front yard.
"This is how you can protect yourself - diligence, vigilance, knowing where your dog is. As much as you miss them, they will miss you. Don't give out specific details about your dog. Don't post specific information about your house on the social Media. Don't answer how much it costs, "she said.
If your pet is stolen, Hunter recommends filing a police report first, then notifying local vets and shelters, and then doing the thing from the movie: putting up flyers in your neighborhood.
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