Lady Gaga won’t pay $500,000 reward to woman tied to dognapping of French bulldogs

Lady Gaga will reportedly not have to pay out the $500,000 reward she promised for the safe return of her French bulldogs following a 2021 dognapping incident.

On 2 October, Los Angeles County Holly J Fujie ruled that Jennifer McBride – one of the suspects from the 2021 incident that led to the “Bad Romance” singer’s dog walker Ryan Fischer being wounded from a gunshot – had “unclean hands,” and as a result, McBride was “not entitled” to the reward money.

According to CNN, which obtained court documents, Judge Fujie’s ruling states that although the plaintiff “alleges that her motivation was to protect the bulldogs (and also collect $500,000), “this alleged motivation does not negate her guilt of the charge” because she “admitted receiving the bulldogs with knowledge that they were stolen property”.

The judge also added that McBride’s complaint was “legally insufficient in its entirety” due to her “involvement in the theft,” and therefore, she was “not entitled to thereafter benefit from their wrongdoing by seeking to enforce the contract”.

In April 2021, McBride was charged with one count of accessory after the fact and receiving stolen property, but the former charge was dismissed contemporaneously as part of her plea deal. She pled guilty to receiving stolen property of more than $950, and according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, McBride was reportedly sentenced to two years of probation.

McBride filed a lawsuit in 2022 seeking $1.5m in damages from Gaga – whose real name is Stefani Germanotta – alleging that the Academy Award winner breached a contract that stated that the reward money would be awarded upon the return of her dogs, “no questions asked”. Her lawyers claimed that Gaga was also guilty of fraud by false promise and fraud by misrepresentation.

On 25 February 2021, Fischer had reportedly been walking Lady Gaga’s three French bulldogs down the 1500 block of Sierra Bonita Avenue in Hollywood when a car pulled up and two men jumped out. As the men tried to snatch the dogs, Fischer resisted and was ultimately shot in the chest. The men took two of the dogs, Koji and Gustavto, and ran off, leaving a wounded Fischer and one of the bulldogs behind. Fischer survived and was later released from a hospital.

Days later, McBride walked into a Los Angeles police station with both dogs, claiming that she found them tied to a pole, and according to police officers, she also asked about the singer’s $500,000 reward. She was later arrested after investigators discovered at the time that she was in a romantic relationship with Harold White, the father of one of Fischer’s assailants, Jaylin White.

Jaylin was involved in the robbery and shooting, along with Lafayette Whaley, and James Howard Jackson. Jackson, the one who shot Fischer, was sentenced to 21 years in prison after pleading no contest to attempted murder with great bodily injury on 5 December 2022. After being wrongly released from prison in April 2022 due to a clerical error, Jackson had been on the run for months before being recaptured in August of that year.

Fischer, who reportedly stayed with Gaga while recovering from a collapsed lung after being shot, explained in a since-deleted Instagram post that he had gone into debt since the shooting. In a public message to Jackson, he said: “I do forgive you. With the attack, you completely altered my life. I know I can’t completely move on from the night you shot me until I said those words to you.”

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