A terrified woman had her dog stolen from her at gunpoint during her usual evening walk – and is now offering cash to anyone who can help reunite her with the poor pooch.
Broken-hearted Rita Warda fears she may never see beloved French bulldog Dezzie again, but hopes stumping up a reward for her return will help.
Little Dezzie was snatched from Rita by a man who ran up behind her and began “stomping” before making off with the dog just before 8pm on Friday..
Rita from Oakland, California said: “I was just walking my dog in the neighbourhood I came home from work and I just wanted to make sure he was out for a little bit.
“This guy like ran up from behind from me and he started stomping and he had a gun in his hand and he took him and he ran away in his car.”
Oakland Police confirmed it has launched an investigation into an armed robbery of a pet near Park View Terrace and Montecito Ave by a gunman who fled in a vehicle.
Warda has had six-year-old Dezzie since he was a puppy and says she is not alone in being worried for his welfare.
She told KPIX 5: “His family, his extended family, he’s loved by so many people, he’s loved in the neighbourhood.
“If you don’t have him, I don’t care, he needs to be home with his family and you can get something better if you want.”
Dezzie is the second French bulldog in as many weeks to have been robbed from their owner in the San Francisco area.
The first stolen pooch was found two days later when someone who innocently bought it from the thief called the police after recognising it in the news.
Rita said: “I heard about it and I was on edge and it was a fear of mine.
“I never understood until I have [a dog] but the thieves think it’s like stealing a purse, it’s not like that at all.”
Kathy Jackson of the NorCal French Bulldog Rescue said: “I’m mortified. It’s awful. I don’t even know what to say.”
Over the last 20 years of working with the short and chunky breed, Kathy has seen their popularity sky rocket.
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But their medical issues which, she says can cost over £1,000 per year, means they come with a lot of responsibility.
Kathy said: “They’re in commercials now. They’re on TV shows, movies. So people look at them and think they’re cute, they’ve got great personalities.
Rita added: “I just want him back, we want him back.”