Ryan Fischer is a 30-year-old California man who was shot in the chest while walking Lady Gaga’s dogs. The attackers stole two of the pop star’s French bulldogs during the Los Angeles robbery Wednesday night, February 25, 2021. TMZ reports the dog walker is in a Los Angeles hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. The suspects have not been caught.
The musician’s dogs were returned to her unharmed on February 26, CNN reports. Lady Gaga had offered a $500,000 reward for the return of her stolen dogs, Gustav and Koji. According to CNN, an unidentified woman who is not believed to be connected to the robbery turned in the French bulldogs to the LAPD.
“The woman found the dogs and reached out to Lady Gaga’s staff to return them,” the LAPD said in a statement. “The woman’s identity and the location the dogs were found will remain confidential due to the active criminal investigation and for her safety.”
Fischer clung to one of Gaga’s French bulldogs, Miss Asia, while he was suffering from the gunshot wound on the Los Angeles sidewalk, a video from KABC shows. The shooting happened about 9:40 p.m. in the 1500 block of North Sierra Bonita Avenue, the Los Angeles Police Department said. According to the LAPD, the suspect or suspects fled the scene and were possibly driving a white vehicle, possibly a Nissan, BMW or Mercedes.
A source close to the singer told Page Six that Fischer is “thankfully recovering well” at the hospital. Miss Asia was picked up from a police station by one of Gaga’s bodyguards, according to TMZ. According to Page Six, Lady Gaga is currently in Italy shooting a movie, Gucci.
Lady Gaga posted on Instagram about the shooting and dognapping earlier on February 26, before the dogs were returned, writing, “My beloved dogs Koji and Gustav were taken in Hollywood two nights ago. My heart is sick and I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness. I will pay $500,000 for their safe return. Email KojiandGustav@gmail.com to contact us. Or, if you bought or found them unknowingly, the reward is the same. I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero.”
Here’s what you need to know about Ryan Fischer and the shooting:
Video Shows Fischer Trying to Fight Off the Attackers & Screaming ‘No’ & ‘Help Me’ Before He Was Shot
TMZ obtained surveillance video from a neighbor showing the attack and shooting. The video, which can be watched above, shows Fischer walking the three French bulldogs on the sidewalk when a white car approaches. Two men can be seen in the video jumping out of the backseat of the car. One of the men points a gun at Fischer and can be heard saying, “Give it up.”
Fischer can be seen trying to fight off the assailants, screaming for help, saying “No,” and yelling the name of one of the dogs, “Koji,” before a shot is fired and he collapses to the ground. The men then take two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav, while the third, Miss Asia, walks up to Fischer, who grabs the dog as the car speeds off. The video also shows neighbors coming out to say they’ve called 911 and providing aid to Fischer, who says he was shot in his chest and was “bleeding out” from his lung.
According to TMZ, the neighbor released the video after learning from Gaga and Fischer that they wanted it made public in case it helps police catch the shooters and find the stolen French bulldogs.
Police audio reveals moments following shooting of Lady Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer. He is expected to make full recovery.
— .ethan (gaga) ♥ (@ethan_gaga) February 25, 2021
Dispatch audio from the shooting has also been released, with a 911 caller telling dispatchers they heard screaming and heard one shot. The dispatcher told police, “The suspect was last seen heading toward Hollywood Boulevard in a white Nissan four door.” The LAPD has not confirmed the make of the car, with dispatchers later saying it was possibly a Mercedes.
An officer tells dispatchers, “Advise sheriffs that the vehicle was last seen southbound on Highland was a four-door Mercedes with tinted windows, no license plates on it, and it was being driven by a male Black with a hat on.” The dispatcher then advises that “two small dogs” were taken.
Fischer was alert and talking to police and other first responders at the scene, witnesses told CBS Los Angeles. “It was a white sedan kind of thing, with two doors on the side open, and that’s where I saw commotion and someone screaming, that was the shot,” Buck Angel told CBS LA. Another witness, Rachel Mason, told the news station, “His arm was up when they put him into the ambulance, they (paramedics) were talking to him.”
Police Do Not Know if the Dognappers Targeted Fischer Because the French Bulldogs Belonged to Lady Gaga
According to Page Six, police are not yet sure if the dognappers were targeting Fischer or if they knew that he was walking Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs. The news site reports French bulldogs are the target of thieves because of their value on the black market. According to Page Six, French bulldogs could fetch thousands on the black market. Some can be sold for between $1,500 to $5,000, the news site reports.
“There has been an increase in celebrity ownership, and a higher visibility — and with that comes a higher demand,” American Kennel Club Vice President of Public Relations Brandi Hunter told Page Six. “But they’re not just a fashion accessory under your arm — they’re a living, breathing family member. Its compact, portable size plays a role. Are you going to steal a Rottweiler? I don’t think so.”
The case is being investigated by the LAPD’s robbery/homicide division. The LAPD added in a statement that detectives “will continue to investigate to ensure the persons responsible are ultimately arrested and brought before justice.”
Fischer’s family issued a statement to TMZ saying, “Ryan is receiving extraordinary care in the hospital right now and his doctors expect him to make a full recovery. We cannot possibly say enough to thank all of the first responders, nurses and doctors who have worked so tirelessly to care for Ryan. Of course, we also want to thank Lady Gaga who has shown nothing but non-stop love and concern for Ryan and our family right from the outset. Ryan loves Gustavo and Koji as much as Lady Gaga does; so we join in her plea for their safe return.”
Fischer Runs a Company Called ‘Valley of the Dogs’ & Has Posted Photos & Videos With Lady Gaga & Her Pups in the Past
Fischer runs a company called “Valley of the Dogs” and posts about his adventures walking Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs and other pups on an Instagram page with the same name. “Delight and descend into the Valley. @saintrocque chronicles their adventures,” the Instagram page says in its description, with a reference to Fischer’s personal Instagram handle.
On his personal page, Fischer wrote in the description, “Reincarnated Figure. Follow me and find eternity. Patron Saint of Plague, Bachelors, Dogs. Dogs @valleyofthedogs. Seeking Fisch for my Flock.” He posted a video on February 18, Ash Wednesday, with Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs, and wrote in the caption:
No matter who you are – from human to hound – the tradition of setting aside time to contemplate your life and role in it is essential in the development of self. Having been raised Catholic, still adhering to the practice of Lent and the ceremony involved really motivates me to dedicate time to this practice! (and having a captive audience who holds you accountable never hurts 😉)
How do you make space to contemplate life? What are you giving up if you adhere to lent? Was going to do Girl Scout Cookies but that’s just way too hard. Both humans and dogs are free to answer.
Fischer also posted a video of Lady Gaga’s dogs in March 2020 on the singer’s birthday, writing, “Happy Birthday MOM!! My friends and I put a little video together for you.”
Fischer has known Lady Gaga since at least 2015, posting a photo with her on his Instagram page that September at New York Fashion Week. He captioned the photo, “It’s the stage moms of my 3 favorite frenchies!”
Fischer appears to have also traveled with Lady Gaga to help her with her dogs.
Fischer’s friend, Steven Lazaroff, told CBS Los Angeles, “He’s always walking the dogs, always with them, if it’s not the group of dogs it’s one-on-one time with the dogs. I’m sure he would take a bullet for those dogs, he is [sic] eats, sleeps and breaths [sic] those dogs.”
Fischer, a Cincinnati Native Who Has Also Lived in Manhattan, Is Also a Musician
Fischer is a Cincinnati native who has also lived in New York, according to his Facebook profile. In addition to his work with dogs, Fischer is a musician and artist.
According to his social media posts, Fischer studied at Loyola University in Chicago and graduated with honors.
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