CULVER CITY (CNS) - A French bulldog puppy was stolen at gunpoint by a man who responded to an advertisement on a social media site listing the 10- month-old dog for sale, Culver City police reported today.
The puppy's owner agreed to a meeting in the 6000 block of Canterbury Drive to conduct the transaction at about 7 p.m. Wednesday. When he placed the dog in his trunk area for viewing, the suspect took a semi-automatic handgun out of his waistband, grabbed the puppy from the trunk and fled on foot, police said.
Police have seen an uptick in the theft of French bulldogs, which have topped the American Kennel Club's list of the most popular dog breeds in Los Angeles for several years straight.
Last month, three reputed gang members were charged with attempted murder in connection with the Feb. 24 shooting of Lady Gaga's dog walker, Ryan Fischer, and the theft of two of the singer's French bulldogs, while two other people -- including a woman who claimed to have found the animals -- were charged with being accessories after the fact.
Los Angeles police detectives do not believe Fischer was targeted because of the dogs' owner, who was in Italy filming a movie, but suspect that the great value of the breed was known and was the motivation for the robbery.
French bulldog thefts have also been reported in recent weeks in North Hollywood and Redondo Beach.
The president of the spcaLA urged French bulldog owners to microchip their pets, register the most current information, keep a file of current photos and veterinary records in case they are stolen and to be aware of their surroundings or unknown people while they are out for daily walks or in public.
'It's a shame that people and animals must suffer like this," Madeline Bernstein said. "But when the demand drops, so will the interest in being a supplier."
The suspect in the Culver City puppy theft was described as a Black man about 25 years old and 5-foot-10, with a thin build, police said. He was wearing a blue sweater, gray pants and red shoes.
Anyone with information about the crime was asked to contact Culver City Police Department Assistant Chief Jason Sims at 310-253-6391 or the watch commander at 310-253-6202.