2 sought after French bulldog stolen, owner dragged in Hollywood Hills

Local news

A $10,000 reward is being offered for the return of a French bulldog that was taken from its owner in the Hollywood Hills Tuesday evening.

The 8-year-old dog named Luca was stolen around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday from the area of North Wetherly Drive and Shoreham Drive, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Authorities are looking for the two people involved.

As the owner was walking with his dog, a car approached them.

While the driver stayed inside, a man got out of the passenger side of a car, went up to the victim and punched him in the back of the head, knocking him down to the ground, police said.

The assailant then grabbed the victim’s dog and got back into the black sedan.

“The owner did try to maintain control of the dog and unfortunately he was dragged a distance,” an LAPD media relations official said.

The thieves ended up getting away with the bulldog.

The victim, Robert Marinelli, said the attack was something he’d “never expect to happen,” and in his attempt to get his dog back, something — perhaps a piece of his clothing — got caught in the car’s door.

“They weren’t going to stop, and if I hadn’t finally broken loose, I’m sure they would’ve driven as long as it took to shake me off the car,” Marinelli said.

One of the thieves is described as being a man in his early 20s who is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. He was wearing all black clothes with a red vest, police said.

The second person is described only as being female.

A flyer about the stolen dog was shared on Love Leo Rescue, which says that the owner ended up in the hospital. Police didn’t have additional information on any injuries from the incident.

The flyer lists a $10,000 for the dog’s safe return, “no questions asked.”

French bulldogs can fetch thousands of dollars and have become increasingly targeted by thieves, according to the American Kennel Club, which has warned of a spike in pet thefts.

One of the most publicized incidents targeting the breed is the violent robbery of Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs in Hollywood early this year. The star’s dog walker was shot during the incident.

High-value and smaller breed dogs that are easier to grab are generally stolen more often, nonprofits say.

In Luca’s case, though, Marinelli thinks his pet’s health conditions, including a cancer that took a toe off of one of the bulldog’s front paws, will make it hard for the thieves to get a large amount for Luca on the black market.

But for Marinelli, getting Luca back would be priceless.

“You don’t understand until you have a dog, but they become your family, they become your children,” Marinelli said.

The incident remains under investigation and no further details were available.

A nonprofit pet adoption service, Adopt-a-Pet.com, this year issued an emergency alert, warning about a rise in pet thefts. The group offered owners these tips to protect their pets:

  • Never leave pets unattended in yards or tied up outside stores
  • Stay alert while walking outside and pay attention to your surroundings
  • If possible, pair up with other pet owners for walks
  • Make sure the dogs are microchipped with up-to-date contact information
  • Be careful while posting photos of pets online, because thieves could use social media posts to know about your location and daily habits

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