A French bulldog that was stolen from its owner in California during a walk has been recovered nearly 3,000 miles away in Philadelphia.
Rachel Avery was walking her Frenchie, Jag, in West Hollywood earlier this month when he slipped out of his collar, Los Angeles ABC station KABC reported. Surveillance video shows the dog running around the neighborhood before a man exited a black SUV and scooped him up before driving away.
Days later, Avery received a call from someone in Philadelphia who promised to hand over the dog if she did not press charges, saying they did not steal him, Avery said.
"When I heard he was in Philadelphia, it was unbelievable," Avery said.
Avery traveled to Philadelphia over the weekend, where she was reunited with Jag at the airport. It's not clear how exactly the dog made it across the country.
"I was in shock that so quickly a dog can be taken and then transported to another state, but here he is, snoring behind me," she said, adding that she was so grateful to law enforcement, who took the theft very seriously, and her community, who rallied behind her when the dog was stolen.
Thefts of French bulldogs have been on the rise in Los Angeles and around the country due to their high value.
French bulldogs are an "expensive, in-demand breed," costing as much as $5,000 per dog, which gives incentive to steal them, knowing that their resale value will likely be high as well, Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States, told ABC News in a statement. The breed is small and likely won't hurt their abductor, which "might explain why thieves gravitate toward snatching them," Block said.
"When someone’s pet is stolen, it is a heart wrenching experience filled with fear and immense grief," she said, adding that several high-profile cases involving the breed in recent months is evidence that they are being targeted. '
In December, police on Long Island, New York, released photos of a woman they say stole a French bulldog from a home in Bay Shore over the Thanksgiving weekend. The woman provided false contact information when she dropped the dog off at a shelter, police said.
On Dec. 8, three men held a woman up at gunpoint in Hollywood and took off with her dog.
On Dec. 27, a French bulldog was taken after its owner was brutally attacked while on a walk in West Hollywood. The dog was safely returned to its owner two days later.
And on Saturday, a woman who was walking with her mother and Frenchie in San Francisco's Castro Valley was robbed at gunpoint. Between four and five suspects also took the woman's purse, which contained her car keys, and later returned to steal her car.
Other notable thefts last year include an incident in February when a group of men shot and robbed Lady Gaga's dog walker and dognapped two of her French bulldogs. The singer and actress was later reunited with her dogs. In July, two French bulldog puppies worth $10,000 worth stolen from a pet store in Shenandoah, Texas, about 30 miles north of Houston.
"This happens more often than we would like to say," the pet store manager told Houston ABC station KTRK at the time.
Block reminded the public that, while pet owners are drawn to French bulldogs for their looks, they often come with "a plethora of health concerns that can lead to expensive vet bills."
"If someone wants to bring a French bulldog into their home, we encourage people to adopt from a reliable breed rescue that can provide lifelong support," Block said.