Aussie couple 'distraught' after $4,000 puppy stolen from their home

French bulldogs sell for a hefty sum when sold on the black market.

A Perth couple were left "absolutely distraught" when a thief broke into their home and stole their French bulldog puppy on Tuesday – with experts warning about the sinister motives of dognappers.

Elijah Busher, 25, told Yahoo News Australia he and his partner Jessie were out for less than two hours in the afternoon, but realised "something wasn't right" when they returned to their Redcliff home in the city's east at 5pm.

"We came in through the garage and she wasn’t there to greet us," he said on Thursday, reliving the gut-wrenching moment. "All inside doors were open and the back door was unlocked, he said.

Mr Busher said his "heart just sank" when he noticed the side gate was unlocked with the 12-week-old Rogue nowhere to be seen.

Black French bulldog stolen from Perth Home.
Elijah Busher and Jessie were devastated when their French bulldog Rogue was stolen from their Perth home on Tuesday. Source: Supplied

Puppy returned, woman charged

After a frantic 24 hours, Cannington Police confirmed the puppy was eventually returned safely to the couple at roughly 7.30 pm on Wednesday night. Mr Busher said they're "beyond relieved" to get their newest family member back.

"She wasn’t hurt but she was terrified and clearly very uncomfortable," he told Yahoo. "She’s exhausted and has slept ever since she was returned."

Police confirmed a 25-year-old woman from Wanaro, 30kms away from the Redcliff home, has been arrested and charged in relation to the crime. "Further arrests are expected," they revealed in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Mr Busher said they didn't know the woman and were shocked that they'd been robbed. Jewellery, headphones and other items were also swiped from the property.

Black french bulldog returned to Perth couple by WA police.
The 14-week-old French bulldog was returned to the Perth couple by police on Wednesday night. Source: Supplied/Facebook

Thieves sell French bulldogs at 'very high prices', could seek to breed them

Most French bulldogs cost between $3,500 and $5,000 in Australia, but depending on their colour, some can cost much more. Interest in French bulldogs soared during the Covid pandemic making them more in demand.

PETA spokesperson, Laura Weyman-Jones, told Yahoo News Australia thieves know that 'purebred' breeds and the latest 'designer' dogs — including French bulldogs — "sell for pricey sums," but said they "don’t give a damn about the bonds between the dogs and their humans."

Pamela Campbell, president at Dogs West, agreed French bulldogs are often sold at "very high prices" and "most often very well above the price asked by reputable Dogs Australia registered breeders."

"A stolen french bulldog puppy could then become a valuable commodity, either for onselling or to be kept for breeding, likely at the earliest opportunity," she told Yahoo.

WA Police found the stolen French bulldog and returned her to her owners on Wednesday. Source: WA Police
WA Police found the stolen French bulldog and returned her to her owners on Wednesday. Source: WA Police

Calls to change dog theft laws

The dognapping comes after local Hillarys MP Caitlin Collings called for a law change around stolen pets. She told The West Australian the state's dog theft laws should follow South Australia and introduce a standalone criminal offence for such crimes.

South Australia’s tough laws can incur fines of up to $50,000 or two years in jail, with a similar law in New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Previously, a person stealing a dog in South Australia had been charged under the general offence of theft, which has a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.

Black French bulldog laying in the sun.
French bulldogs can sell for a lot of money on the black market.

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