‘A lot of celebrities have them’: South Mississippi man explains why French bulldog thefts on the rise

By Mike Lacy | February 27, 2021 at 9:37 PM CST – Updated February 27 at 9:37 PM

MCHENRY, Miss. (WLOX) – The shooting of Lady Gaga’s dog walker and theft of her French bulldogs made national headlines this week. While the man is expected to recover and her dogs are back safely, the event is certainly a warning for pet owners in general, and specifically those who love their French bulldogs.

Cody Breland has a unique perspective about why this story caught fire around the country. As the owner of Wild Acres Hands On Experience in McHenry, he is used to hugging up on exotic animals, but cuddling French bulldogs is extra special.

“They are very loving. They have great personalities,” Breland said. “They have one of the most amazing personalities I have witnessed in a dog breed.”

And that’s one of the reasons why he said they are aggressively targeted, like the ones owned by Lady Gaga.

“We’ve had friends that have actually had their homes broken into and had Frenchies actually stolen out of the home,” said Breland. “This happens all the time. And not all animals are fortunate enough to have a celebrity owner to put out a half million dollar return reward on them. So, often these animals are not recovered.”

Breland lived in Los Angeles before coming to run Wild Acres, and he used to be a French bulldog breeder. He said in Los Angeles, they are precious commodities.

“A French Bulldog in Los Angeles is going to starting at $6,000. Most of the time, all the way up to $8,000, sometimes $10,000,” said Breland. “A lot of people want them, a lot of celebrities have them. So, they’re kind of a sought-after dog. So, I mean, if a dog is going to get stolen, it’s going to be one of these guys right here.”

He and his beloved dogs have a connection to the Hollywood elite. Oliver and Ophie are the proud parents of a Frenchie, now owned by Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late Robin Williams.

And Breland made sure to give Williams a heads up about Lady Gaga.

“As soon as I found out two days ago that her dogs were stolen, I immediately reached out to them, and let them know. I was like, ‘Hey, Lady Gaga’s dogs were actually stolen this morning and, so, keep Potato,’ – her name is Potato – ‘Keep Potato close by.’ “

And he hopes that the mega popstar now will use her platform to keep it from happening to others.

“Who knows, since it happened to her, she’ll start like taking a stand,” said Breland. “And helping others get their animals relocated and brought back home.”

Breland also added that one of the best ways to help relocate lost or stolen dogs is to have them microchipped.

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