A man dognapping a puppy.

Dognapping: Keep Your Pup Safe

Earlier this year, the canine-loving world was shocked by the news that pop star Lady Gaga’s dog walker had been shot in Los Angeles, and that Koji and Gustav, two of her beloved French Bulldogs, had been stolen. A third Frenchie, Asia, managed to escape and the dog walker, Ryan Fischer, recovered from serious wounds in the weeks following the incident. The A Star Is Born actor was in Rome when the crime occurred and offered a $500,000 reward for Gustav and Koji’s safe return, “no questions asked.” Angelenos were encouraged to submit tips to a dedicated email address and dog lovers everywhere became newly aware of the threat posed by dognappers.

After a two-day hunt for the thieves, both dogs were returned. The Los Angeles Police Department did not initially believe that the individual who handed the dogs over was related to the assault and dognapping. Several months later, however, they arrested Jennifer McBride along with four suspected accomplices.

Gaga’s ordeal is only the most high-profile recent dognapping. More pets get snatched every year than you might think: an estimated two million dogs alone. Fortunately for our four-legged friends, there are plenty of steps you can take to thwart would-be thieves.

Preventing Dognapping

AKC Reunite President and CEO Tom Sharp notes that expensive, small dogs typically make the most enticing targets for dognappers. For thieves who plan to “flip” or resell dogs to unsuspecting buyers, pricy, purebred dogs promise a considerable payout.

Smaller dogs are easy targets for an obvious reason — they’re easier to snatch and transport than larger breeds. In addition to French Bulldogs, the American Kennel Club notes that the following breeds are the most likely to get stolen:

What to Do If Your Dog Gets Lost or Stolen