A woman was allegedly held at gunpoint by three men on Wednesday night who abducted her French bulldog.
A $5,000, no-questions-asked reward is now being offered for the safe return of the pet, which is named Mona, according to ABC 7. According to her family, their mother, 58, whose name has not been released to the public, was walking the dog around 7 p.m. when the attackers got out of a Sedan and confronted her.
The woman reportedly let go of her dog’s leash, at which point it tried to run off across the street. Despite the animal’s effort, the attackers were still able to grab it and make their escape.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is investigating the matter and believes the suspects to be in their 20’s with thin builds. They also believe that the Sedan used in the attack was either black or dark gray. The family has also acquired surveillance footage they say showed their mother walking the dog and the attackers.
The family stressed that it is important for Mona to be returned soon, as she suffers from a urinary tract infection and requires daily medication.
“It’s very important that we get her back because she needs the help that we’ve been giving her this entire time,” Elizabeth Staroselskaya, one of the woman’s relatives, said. “And she’s our family member.”
The LAPD asked that anyone with information pertaining to the dog’s whereabouts report the information at 310-339-9948.
French bulldogs are a perennially popular dog breed, the fourth most popular in the U.S. As such, they are common victims of abduction. Notably, pop star and actress Lady Gaga’s two French bulldogs were stolen in February after the abductors shot her personal dog walker in the chest.
Thanks to their popularity in recent decades, French bulldogs are known to fetch high prices, between $1,500-$,5000. This makes them an even more tantalizing target for would-be dognappers. Their small size is also said to be a factor, as smaller breeds tend to be easier to make off with. Additionally, if the animal has not been spayed or neutered, some thieves might sell them for breeding purposes instead of as pets.
“Smaller breeds are more appealing for theft, and French bulldogs are wildly popular right now,” Brandi Hunter, vice president of public relations and communications at the American Kennel Club, explained to CNN. “The demand for the breed is higher than the supply so they are often a more targeted breed…Thieves generally know how popular these dogs are, what they cost, and how much people are willing to pay for them.”
In July, two women were arrested after stealing a French bulldog valued at around $11,500 dollars from a pet store in Texas. Using surveillance footage, the women were found by police shortly after running out of the store while attempting to re-affix license plates to their getaway car.
“They’re very popular, very smart and intelligent,” Debi Pierce, a pet counselor at the store, told the Washington Post. “A lot of celebrities have them as well, so people might see them as kind of a status symbol.”