Experts explain what’s behind the recent rash of French bulldog thefts in the D.C. metro area

Heather Curtis – WMAL News | November 30, 2023

There’s been a rash of French bulldog thefts in the D.C. metro area over the last few years, with two stolen this week alone.

Tuesday a Brookland resident got her Frenchie, Hendrix, back after he was stolen from her while she was walking him in NE on Saturday. To add insult to injury, she was given Hendrix as a gift after her other puppy was killed in flooding at District Dogs earlier this year. Thursday, Fairfax County Police are continuing their search for a Frenchie named Queen who was stolen from her Springfield home on Monday. They say the thief tried to take two other dogs from the home but wound up only making off with one.

French bulldogs are the most popular dog in the U.S. according to the American Kennel Club, and their popularity with dog owners makes the trendy pups attractive targets for thieves.

“We are hearing about a lot of thefts of expensive breeds, especially French bulldogs. French bulldogs are one of the most expensive purebred breeds of dog,” said Kathleen Summers, the director of outreach and research for the Stop Puppy Mills campaign at the Humane Society of the United States.

According to Summers, they go for an average of $3,000 to 5,000.

“They have a high resale value, sorry to make it sound like they’re an item and not a living creature, but unfortunately we believe they’re being stolen for resale,” Summers said.

Another reason thieves like them is because they’re friendly, which makes them easier for strangers to take away without a fight, according to Dan D’Eramo, the director of field services with the Humane Rescue Alliance in D.C. He adds they’re also small, which makes them easy to grab and run off with.

“In a lot of ways it’s just a crime of opportunity,” D’Eramo said.

Just like other expensive, portable things like cell phones and designer purses, D’Eramo says thieves looking to make a quick buck often snatch them from people walking by who aren’t paying attention.

If you want to decrease the chances of having someone steal your dog, French bulldog or not, D’Eramo says to stay alert when you’re walking. Your texts, emails and phone conversations can wait. He also recommends using a conventional leash that lets you keep your dog close by your side instead of a retractable one that allows dogs to stray up to 20 feet from you.

Summers recommends microchipping your dog and making sure the information in the microchip is up to date. She adds you also want to keep your vet records updated, so you have more than a picture to prove you are the rightful owner of your dog if there is any dispute over ownership.

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