Lady Gaga has made her first public appearance since her dog walker was shot by thieves who stole her two bulldogs last week. The pop superstar, 34, looked composed as she emerged from her hotel in central Rome on Tuesday, marking the first time she has been seen since the traumatic ordeal unfolded on February 24.
She gave a small wave and a word of thanks to a lady who asked after her pets as she climbed into a waiting car wearing a conservative camel outfit. Last week, the American Horror Story actress – who has been filming a movie in Italy – was left stranded in Europe when her dog-walker Ryan Fischer was shot in the chest by thieves on Wednesday night and two of her pets stolen in the US.
The dogs, Gustav and Koji, were returned to the pop star by a mystery woman who said she found them tied to a post in Los Angeles on Friday. A manhunt for the two attackers is still underway.
Ryan, who is expected to make a full recovery, praised one Gaga’s third dog, Miss Asia, who avoided capture and returned to be by his side, calling her his ‘guardian angel’.
Lady Gaga has reportedly said she will pay for Fischer’s $97,500 medical bills. A source close to the Black Jesus singer told the Mirror: ‘Gaga feels horrendous about what happened to Ryan and wants to make sure he is looked after. She absolutely adores him and is forever indebted to him for his bravery.’
The unnamed source said that Lady Gaga also wanted to compensate Ryan for lost work and ‘has been wishing him a speedy recovery’. Lady Gaga put up a $500,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of her stolen dogs, who finally came home safe on Friday.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the woman was a Good Samaritan who recognized the dogs from media coverage of the robbery in which the singer’s dog walker was shot. She contacted an email address shared on social media by Lady Gaga and was told to head to the nearest police station.
Sources also told TMZ that the Star Is Born actress will ‘gladly’ follow through on her promise of a reward. Lady Gaga has made no other comment on the return of the dogs but is reported to have been in tears on learning that they had been safely found.
Her father, Joe Germanotta, has called for the two dog-nappers to be charged with assault and attempted murder for shooting Fischer as he tried to protect the animals. On Friday, harrowing new footage emerged of the moment Ryan was shot and left writhing in pain in the street.
The video was taken on a neighbor’s doorbell camera on Sierra Bonita Avenue where Fischer was walking the three dogs when he was suddenly attacked in the street at 10pm on Wednesday night.
The Gaga dog theft has spooked Hollywood dog walkers into beefing up their security. Some are applying for concealed carry permits to be able to protect themselves if they too are attacked, and others are changing their walking schedules to avoid being out at night.
Anna-Marie Arredondo, the owner of Happy Heart Pet Care, told TMZ that she was learning jiu-jitsu classes too. Renee Lutz, owner of Fetch! Pet Care said she is no longer letting dog walkers go out at night, and that she is arming them all with pepper spray.
The assailants shot him once in the chest with a handgun, snatched Koji and Gustav and fled. Miss Asia evaded them initially then, once they had fled, ran back to Fischer as he lay on the ground, screaming: ‘Help! I’ve been shot!’ Lady Gaga broke her silence over the incident, calling her employee ‘a hero forever’.
I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero,’ Lady Gaga said in an Instagram post. The star has stayed quiet since the dogs were returned, but sources said she remains ‘horrified’ by the attack.
‘Lady Gaga is beside herself about this situation,’ a source told ET. ‘Ryan is not only her dog walker, but also her friend. She is horrified that this happened.’
‘She is completely devastated and sickened by this,’ the source said, adding that the singer’s dogs are like ‘her babies’.
‘She feels somewhat helpless because she is far away in Italy but is doing everything she can and praying for Ryan, Koji and Gustavo.’
The LAPD released a description of both suspects on Friday. They were described as black males between 20 and 25. The car they were driving was a Nissan Altima.
When she learned that her dogs had been snatched, Lady Gaga immediately offered the $500,000, ‘no questions asked’ reward which law enforcement experts have criticized.
They say it may not only jeopardize the investigation but also create a market for opportunistic criminals to target and kidnap celebrity pets then return them for handsome rewards.
Capt Jonathan Tippet, commanding officer of the LAPD’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, said police were not involved in the reward.
Just days before the attack, Ryan had posted a video to Instagram of himself singing to Gaga’s pups and tagged Miss Asia’s official Instagram page. He has previously posted images of the dogs on a number of other occasions.
French bulldogs are in high demand and sell for anywhere between $3,000-$5,000. Those with pedigree lineage can also go for as much as $10,000.