Lady Gaga’s dog walker is expected to make a “full recovery” after being shot late Wednesday, according to a statement from his family.
Ryan Fischer was walking three of the pop star’s dogs Wednesday evening when a man approached the dog walker and shot him once, according to Los Angeles Police Department’s Officer Drake Madison.
“Our beloved Ryan was the victim of a horrible, violent crime on Wednesday evening in Los Angeles,” Fischer’s family said in a statement obtained by USA TODAY Friday. “Thankfully, Ryan is receiving extraordinary care in the hospital right now and his doctors expect him to make a full recovery.”
Fischer was walking Gaga’s dogs when a four-door sedan pulled over and two men tried to steal the animals, Los Angeles Police Capt. Jonathan Tippett told the Associated Press. Two of her dogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen. A third dog was left behind and later recovered.
“Ryan loves Gustavo and Koji as much as Lady Gaga does; so we join in her plea for their safe return,” his family added.
The singer, who is currently in Italy filming a movie, shared a post of her “beloved” dogs on Instagram Friday where she confirmed the theft of her dogs and sent love to Fischer, calling him a “hero.”
“I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero,” she wrote.
The “A Star is Born” actress said in her Instagram post she will pay $500,000 for the safe return of her dogs. Those with information can email [email protected]
“My heart is sick and I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness,” she wrote.
Surveillance video from a neighboring house shows Fischer repeatedly yell for help as he tried to fight off the suspects. The struggle escalated before one suspect wielding a semiautomatic handgun shot him.
It’s not yet known if both men were armed, Tippett said.
LAPD says the suspects stole the two bulldogs and took off in a white vehicle. Surveillance footage shows the victim pleaded he was “bleeding out” on the sidewalk while trying to flag down help.
Police described the two suspects as Black men between the ages of 20 to 25 years old, one of which has blond dreadlocks and was armed with a semi-automatic handgun, according to an LAPD news release provided by Madison.
It’s not yet clear if Fischer was targeted because of his celebrity client.
The harrowing event literally hit close to home for a fellow celebrity and dog lover, Rebel Wilson, who lamented the incident Thursday during a Television Critics Association Zoom panel for her upcoming ABC dog-grooming competition show, “Pooch Perfect.”
“That’s on my street, two blocks away,” Wilson said when asked about the overnight incident. “We were just talking about it, because it just happened two blocks from where I am right now and we’re just shocked, devastated. We hope everyone involved is all right. Coming from a dog-showing family, occasionally there were incidents with dogs and it would just be absolutely devastating. And we hope everybody is all right in that situation.”
Lisa Vanderpump, a “Pooch Perfect” celebrity judge who is active in dog-rescue efforts, said she is familiar with the kidnapped dogs and indicated she had been in touch with Lady Gaga’s circle, although she didn’t specify the person.
“It’s devastating. I spoke to them this morning,” she said. “I know those dogs personally and she worships those dogs. We have that in common.”
Lady Gaga has an Instagram account for one of her dogs, Miss Asia, where posts are shared regularly.
The “Chromatica” singer, 34, told USA TODAY in an interview last month she shares what many people are feeling during the pandemic: “an epic sense of powerlessness over what’s happening in the world.”
“We’ve encountered a super virus that is epic in its disastrous proportions,” she said. “So that feeling of powerlessness in some ways is, I think, something that we all share.”
The pandemic has energized her in other ways, though, adding that it has “really mobilized me to work on how I can help the world.”
Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Bill Keveney