French bulldog puppy found after being stolen at gunpoint in Culver City

CULVER CITY, Calif. (KABC) -- A French bulldog puppy was found after being stolen at gunpoint by a man who responded to an advertisement on a social media site listing the 10-month-old dog for sale, police said.

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.

On Saturday morning, Culver City police say detectives observed the suspect leaving a residence in the Fox Hills Area of Culver City. The suspect, who was holding a gray French Bulldog, got into a nearby vehicle and drove away.

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Five suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of Lady Gaga's French bulldogs and violent assault on her dogwalker in Hollywood back in February.

Culver City police officers attempted to stop the suspect, and a short pursuit ensued. The pursuit ended when the suspect collided with another vehicle near Bristol Parkway and Slauson Avenue.

Police say the suspect then fled on foot, and a perimeter was set up in the area, and the man was taken into custody around 2:45 p.m.

The French bulldog was also located unharmed and returned to its owner.

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.

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French Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club. This puts them at high risk for dognapping.

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."

City News Service contributed to this report.
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