'Dognapping' on the rise in US Photograph:( AFP )
From New York to Los Angeles, and from Miami to Chicago, thefts of the sought-after canines have been on the rise, with many in the local media calling it 'the rise of dognapping'
Robbery is on the rise in US. However, instead of jewellery and cash, the thieves have been on the hunt for French bulldogs.
From New York to Los Angeles, and from Miami to Chicago, thefts of the sought-after canines have been on the rise, with many in the local media calling it “the rise of dognapping”.
The latest victim of the robbery was a Los Angeles resident. On January 3, Robert Marinelli was walking his dog Luca in the morning in West Hollywood when a man in a black sedan got out of his car, took the dog and ran.
Marinelli chased after the suspect, but the thief fought him and drove off, according to surveillance camera footage from the crime scene, reports ABC news.
During the chase, Marinelli's shirt was caught in their car door and he was dragged briefly on the ground. The two thieves beat him brutally, leaving him with extensive injuries.
But the most famous case was of singer Lady Gaga. Last year, armed men stole her pet bulldogs Koji and Gustav when an employee of hers was walking them. The thieves opened fire at him, leaving him severely wounded.
The superstar singer had to offer $500,000 reward for their return and eventually got the dogs back. Police made five arrests in the case.
But why are thieves targeting the French bulldogs?
Among other reasons, experts opine that there are two key motives for the thieves to go after the prized breed. Their high resale value — $3,500 to $5,000 or more — and their relative rarity, reported AFP.
“This is not a breed that has large litters... and it can take a while to get one," Brandi Hunter Munden, vice president of the American Kennel Club, told AFP.
“Their rise in popularity has led to an increase in thefts,” she said, adding, “The use of violence, however, is new and alarming.”
(With inputs from agencies)