Man Who Stole Lady Gaga’s Dogs Released, Dog Theft Epidemic

(Photo Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty)

US Marshals wrongfully released the man who shot Lady Gaga’s dog walker while attempting to steal the singer’s French Bulldogs.

The New York Times reports that the 19-year-old man, supposedly part of a Frenchie theft ring, was accidentally released from jail in April. The US Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for tips leading to his arrest.

The Incident

James Howard Jackson, one of five people arrested for the dognapping incident, allegedly shot Gaga’s dog walker in Hollywood in February 2021. The group made off with Koji and Gustav. The third Frenchie, Miss Asia, managed to escape. Two days after the incident, a woman returned the two stolen Frenchies to the local police department and received a million-dollar reward.

“A lot of healing still needs to happen, but I look forward to the future and the moment when I get bombarded with kisses and licks (and maybe even an excitement pee?) from Asia, Koji, and Gustav,” Gaga’s dogwalker, Ryan Fischer, wrote on his Instagram soon after the shooting.

Despite Jackson being charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a robbery, and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, he was mistakenly released from Los Angeles County custody the same month he was charged “due to a clerical error,” according to the Sheriff’s Department as reported by the Associated Press. The District Attorney’s Office added, “Mr. Jackson was released from custody by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We are unsure as to why they did so.” Jackson remains at large.

Dog Theft Epidemic?

While stealing dogs may seem like a ridiculous crime, it occurs at a much higher frequency than you might think. According to the AKC, dog thieves steal an estimated two million pups every year in the United States. Of those two million, only ten percent of those return home. Additionally, thieves target certain breeds — like Frenchies.

Dog theft also spiked during the height of the COVID pandemic. “Dog flipping,” a practice by which dog thieves steal a lucrative breed to sell for a high price, proved a decent business for some. This practice puts designer breeds at risk.

However, don’t let the statistics scare you. In Gaga’s dog walker’s case, the violence used to obtain the dogs made avoiding the difficult situation. However, non-celebrity dogs are unlikely to experience this type of theft. Click here for our list of tips for avoiding dog theft.

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