Joe Germanotta (left), the father of Lady Gaga, said on Thursday that the family is ‘upset’ and ‘sick’ over the ‘horrible’ dognapping of the singer’s two beloved French bulldogs. The two are seen above in New York in January 2018
Lady Gaga’s father has spoken of his family’s anguish after the pop star’s two beloved French Bulldogs were kidnapped by two assailants and a dog walker was shot in Los Angeles late on Wednesday night.
‘We’re just sick over it, it’s really horrible,’ Gaga’s dad, Joe Germanotta, told the New York Post.
‘It’s like someone took one of your kids.’
Germanotta, who owns a restaurant on the West Side of Manhattan, told Fox News that he is ‘so upset right now’, and confirmed that the injured dog walker – 30-year-old Ryan Fischer – is a ‘family friend’.
‘Our whole family is upset and praying Koji and Gustavo are not harmed,’ he said.
‘Shooting someone in order to steal dogs is wrong.’
‘Help us catch these creeps,’ the pop star’s father added.
He told the Post that he has spoken to his famous daughter, who is currently in Italy filming a movie, ‘several times’ about the incident.
Germanotta said he told Gaga: ‘Just try to be strong and remember that they’re together.’
‘They’re comforting each other,’ Germanotta said of the two dogs.
Surveillance footage captured from a neighbor’s home shows a white sedan pulling up alongside Fischer, and two men, dressed in dark clothing, climbing out of the back seat.
One of the men is heard cocking a pistol as they storm towards Fischer, warning him to ‘give it up’.
Fischer is heard crying out ‘no’ and shrieking out in horror for someone to help him as he attempts to fend off the assailants, as they appear to be grappling with him over the dogs on the ground.
‘Koji, no!’ Fischer says as one of the men pulls him away from the sedan and towards the sidewalk.
A single gunshot then thunders out, and Fischer can be heard screaming.
Meanwhile, the two attackers pile into the backseat of the sedan, holding two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav, before driving away.
One of the dogs can be heard yelping and growling as its taken, while Miss Asia is seen running back to Fischer who is lying on the ground.
Ryan Fischer, 30, had been walking Gaga’s beloved dogs Koji, Miss Asia and Gustav, in West Hollywood at around 10pm yesterday night when he was shot
Fischer (left with Gaga’s dogs) had been caring for the three dogs while Gaga is away in Rome, Italy, working on a new Ridley Scott movie. He’s said to be a family friend
Gaga’s dogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen. Miss Asia was later recovered by police (shown above)
A neighbor then races to Fischer’s aid. Police arrived on scene shortly afterwards, finding Fischer bleeding but conscious and communicative.
LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet confirmed that Fischer was shot once but said he’s expected to survive.
Fischer was ambushed outside his home on West Hollywood’s Sierra Bonita Avenue as he walked Gaga’s dogs Koji, Miss Asia, and Gustav just before 10pm on Wednesday.
The attacker then fled with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav, while Miss Asia managed to get away.
It’s unclear whether the thieves knew the dogs belonged to Gaga. However, French bulldogs are in high demand and sell for anywhere between $3,000-$5,000. Those with pedigree lineage can also go for as much as $10,000.
Police arrived to the scene to find Fischer seriously hurt, but conscious and communicative. Fischer is expected to make a full recovery, TMZ reported.
The pop singer is offering a $500,000 reward for the safe return of Kobi and Gustav – ‘no questions asked.’
Former FBI Agent Frank Montoya Jr slammed the star’s decision to DailyMail.com on Thursday, saying her reward not only put the LAPD’s investigation at risk, but opened up a market for criminals to start stealing celebrity dogs and returning them for high ransoms.
Fischer, who runs a company called Valley Of The Dogs, had been watching Gaga’s French bulldogs while she’s away filming a new Ridley Scott movie in Rome, Italy.
Gaga is pictured above with her beloved dogs Koji, Miss Asia and Gustav in a post previously shared to Instagram
Just six days ago, Fischer had posted a video to Instagram of him singing to the trio, and tagged Miss Asia’s official Instagram page. He has previously posted images of the dogs on a number of other occasions.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, the LAPD said investigators are treating the case as an ‘assault with a deadly weapon,’ noting that the weapon used was a semi-automatic handgun.
It was initially believed there were two attackers, but LA police said on Thursday afternoon that they were hunting for a single shooter.
The gunmen fled the scene northbound on Sierra Bonita Avenue in a white vehicle and remains at large, police said.
The LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division has taken over the investigation. The RHD is responsible for investigating the highest-profile cases in LA.
First responders were seen taking Miss Asia from Fischer’s arms as they rendered him aid on Wednesday night.
The pooch was then swaddled up in a blanket and taken to the LAPD’s Hollywood headquarters. One of Gaga’s bodyguards collected her from the station shortly afterwards.
It’s currently unclear whether Gaga’s dogs were specifically targeted (Pictured: Gaga poses with Miss Asia in an Instagram post
The location of the shooting is shown in the above map. It happened outside a home in the 1500 block if Sierra Bonita Avenue
Lady Gaga’s representatives have not yet returned a request for comment on the shooting or theft of the star’s dogs.
Tara Bruno, founder of SNORT Rescue, an organization that rescues bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers, told People that French bulldogs are among the most stolen dog breeds because they’re very popular, are small and portable, and are expensive.
According to the American Kennel Club, French bulldogs are the fourth most popular breed in the United State, behind Labradors, golden retrievers and German shepherds.
However, French bulldogs are easier to steal, Bruno says, because they are much smaller.
‘The motive is resale. Thieves know they can get a couple thousand dollars for them,’ she told the outlet.
Gaga adopted Gustav in 2016, and celebrated the addition to her ‘family’ in an Instagram post.
Video from the scene captured by KABC showed Fischer lying on the sidewalk and clinging to Miss Asia as first responders attended to him
French bulldogs are the fourth most popular breed of dogs in the US, and are also among the most commonly stolen breeds too (pictured above is Gaga’s three dogs enjoying a day out on the beach)
‘I’m proud to announce we added a new member to the #JOANNE family,’ she wrote, adding that she was still deciding on his name. ‘I haven’t named him yet but I call him both cowpig and moopig in the meantime!’
The singer got Koji as a puppy the year prior in April 2015, and Miss Asia has been with Gaga since March 2014.
A celebrity in her own right, Miss Asia boasts a social media following of more than 220,000. She has previously appeared in several magazines, featured in several ad campaigns and, in 2015, was the inspiration between Lady Gaga’s pet product line.
Gaga’s manager, Bobby Campbell, told Billboard at the time: ‘This is not just about crazy outfits for dogs. It’s about giving pet parents and pet owners a fun and creative way for protecting their pets, as well as fun clothes to display on Instagram (because Gaga loves doing that).’
To tease the line, Gaga uploaded a series of fashion-style photo shoots of Miss Asia reading Vogue, driving a Rolls Royce in a tux and even enjoying an outdoor picnic of champagne and dog biscuits.
The dogs have appeared frequently on Gaga’s social media pages in the years since.
In 2018, the Shallows singer dressed the trio up as Chia pets, the terracotta figurines that found popularity in the 1980s.
The three also previously accompanied Gaga on the red carpet for the American Music Awards in November 2017.
Hours before the shooting unfolded in West Hollywood, Gaga was pictured strutting through the streets of Rome.
She is currently filming in the Italian city for Ridley Scott’s new movie Gucci, in which she stars Maurizio Gucci’s ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani.
Debuting new brunette locks, the Bad Romance hitmaker was spotted walking into her hotel, glad in a glamorous animal print kaftan and a black studded face mask.
Earlier this month, Gaga revealed that a ‘very important member’ of her family was hospitalized for two months with COVID-19 after falling ‘very, very ill’ with the virus.
Lady Gaga’s representatives have not yet returned a request for comment on the shooting or theft of the star’s dogs (she is seen above with Gustav, right, and Koji, left)
The three French pitbulls previously accompanied Gaga on the red carpet for the American Music Awards in November 2017
In 2018, the Shallows singer dressed the trio up as Chia pets, the terracotta figurines that found popularity in the 1980s
The 11-time Grammy winner admitted it was difficult for her to visit them in the ICU because she had to be by herself.
When asked what has been giving her hope over the past year, she said: ‘I got to be honest. I’m about to cry on the other end of this call with you because it’s really – it’s doctors, it’s nurses, it’s essential workers.
‘I haven’t spoken to this person about speaking about this publicly, but I will tell you that a very important member of my family was very, very ill recently and in the hospital for almost two months.
‘I was in the ICU by myself many times because you can’t go in with more than one person, if you can go in at all. I have never seen the heroic acts of bravery that I witnessed, watching these doctors and nurses and people that were cleaning at the hospital.’