The dog-walker was left "bleeding out" on the sidewalk before help arrived and he was taken to the hospital.
On 24 February 2021, Grammy Award-winning singer Lady Gaga's dogs were the target of a kidnapping, one that resulted in the dog walker being shot, according to USA Today.
The singer's dogs, named Koji and Gustav, were stolen by two men at around 9:40 P.M. in Hollywood. At the time, Ryan Fischer was walking her three dogs. Video footage showed that two men approached the dog walker and one shot him with a semi-automatic handgun before taking off with two of the three dogs. While the third dog, named Miss Asia, managed to escape and was later recovered by authorities, Koji and Gustav weren't as lucky. They were taken by the shooter and his accomplice who fled the area in a white sedan, said Los Angeles Police Captain Jonathan Tippett, as per USA Today.
The video, captured from a neighboring house, reveals Fischer crying out for help numerous times as he fought off the suspects before being shot. It remains unclear whether both men were armed, according to LA Police Captain Tippett. The walker was seen "bleeding out" on the sidewalk, trying to get help. He finally did get the aid he needed and was taken to the hospital where he is currently in a stable condition. However, the cops are investigating whether the dog walker was consciously targeted.
Buck Angel, a witness who came to Fischer's aid, told Entertainment Tonight that "I think 100% targeted – for sure. First off because in this neighborhood we have a lot of celebrities – it’s a celebrity neighborhood, number one. Number two, I walk my dog at 11 and 12 o’clock at night and it’s safe here, it’s totally chill. How would anyone know that [Fischer] was walking those dogs at [that exact time]."
Meanwhile, Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, is in Rome for work on a new Ridley Scott film, Gucci, as per BBC. However, that hasn't stopped her from being on top of things and being proactive about getting her precious canines back. According to a source speaking to CNN, the Poker Face singer "is offering half-a-million dollars to anyone who has her two dogs, no questions asked. Anyone who has the dogs can use this email, KojiandGustav@gmail.com to retrieve the reward." Given how attached the 34-year-old A Star Is Born actress is to her furry friends, her reward offer comes as no surprise.
Lisa Vanderpump, a television personality and Pooch Perfect celebrity judge mentioned that she knew Koji and Gustav. Indicating that she had contact with someone from the singer's circles, she said, “It’s devastating. I spoke to them this morning. I know those dogs personally and she worships those dogs. We have that in common.”
Her social media is filled with photos of them.
Additionally, as per TMZ, the police are unsure if the men were looking specifically for Lady Gaga's dogs or if they saw French Bulldogs, which are in demand and expensive, and made the attempt to kidnap. "French bulldogs from reputable breeders cost between $3,000 and $5,000," said Tara Bruno, founder of SNORT Rescue, in an interview with People. "The motive is resale. Thieves know they can get a couple thousand dollars for them."
But shortly after Lady Gaga revealed the reward money, former FBI Agent Frank Montoya Jr criticized her decision, claiming that such an offer put the LAPD's investigation at risk as well as gave criminals the idea to begin stealing celebrity dogs and ransoming them for high amounts, according to the Daily Mail. "It’s always been an option for opportunistic criminals. But…paying, no questions asked, can open up a Pandora’s box of sorts. She should give the investigation a chance. After all, the dogs notwithstanding, a human being was shot," he said.
Gaga's father Joe Germanotta spoke to Fox News and mentioned that the entire family is "so upset right now," especially his daughter who is "distraught." He equated the kidnapping of the dogs to "losing one of your children." "Our whole family is upset and praying Koji and Gustavo are not harmed," he added. "Shooting someone in order to steal dogs is wrong."
Cover image source: Instagram | Lady Gaga