Lady Gaga smiling in a white dress

Have Hollywood pets become “prime targets” for dognappers?  With the recent news that five suspects have been arrested for kidnapping Lady Gaga’s dogs and shooting her dog walker, one tabloid is reporting that many Hollywood A-listers are taking drastic precautions to protect their dogs. Gossip Cop investigates. 

Lady Gaga’s Ordeal Scares Celebrity Pet Owners?

The National Enquirer claimed back in March that celebrity pet owners such as Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey Baldwin, Leonardo DiCaprio, Katy Perry, and Kendall Jenner are doing everything to protect their pets. The rag alleges that stars are doing everything from taking out pet insurance to changing their walking route to reporting “suspicious activity.” However, since the arrests of five suspects, new information has come out proving the tabloid wrong.

The outlet claimed that “thugs targeted Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer.” It left out that the perpetrators had no idea the dogs belonged to the Oscar-nominated performer. Their source, an LA private investigator, falsely speculated that Gaga’s three French Bulldogs were “likely” targeted because one of the dogs has over 200,000 followers on Instagram.

This is false, according to the official press release from the LA County Police Department. “Detectives do not believe the suspects were targeting the victim because of the dogs’ owner.” Instead, evidence leads the LAPD to believe that the suspects “knew the great value” of the dogs’ breed. Nowhere in the gossip rag’s article did they mention the dognappers’ true motivation. 

Seeing What Sticks 

The magazine finished up the story grasping at straws, listing yearsold dognapping cases. The tabloid mentioned the 2015 kidnapping of Sharon Osbourne’s Pomeranian, Pippy, by a neighboring housekeeper and the 2013 unsolved theft of Karen Chamberlin’s Maltese, Jack. Earlier in the article, the outlet quoted its source as saying that there are “a tremendous number of stolen dogs” in the area. However with such a short list and no evidence, the outlet couldn’t prove celebrities with dogs had any more reason to worry than any other pet owner. 

So are celebrities worried that their animals are being specifically targeted as the article claims? Not for that reason. Unfortunately, dog thefts are up in the U.S. and the UK due to high pandemic demands for pets and high unemployment rates, as reported by Time. Adoption rates soared during quarantine, making pet thefts more common. Before COVID-19, an average of two million pets were stolen per year according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. 

With high prices for purebreds, high pet demand, and many people out of work, pet theft rates have skyrocketed. However, the National Enquirer is exploiting a real issue for clout.

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