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French bulldog stolen from backyard shocks Nipomo family

Stolen French Bulldog
Photo of a French bulldog named Dexter that was stolen Thursday from a Nipomo backyard. (Courtesy of Jennifer Skarda)

NIPOMO, Calif. -- A Nipomo family is shocked and angry after its French bulldog was stolen from its backyard Thursday afternoon.

The theft happened around 1:30 p.m. Thursday when an unknown man opened the gate to the family's backyard, picked up the bulldog and ran off with the animal.

"I came home and saw the gate to our backyard was open and I thought I had left it open, so I started walking around the neighborhood and calling for him," said Noah Skarda, who lives at the home with his family. "Called my parents, and three or four minutes later, they called me and said someone had broken into the backyard and stole the dog."

The incident lasted only a few seconds and was captured on the family's video surveillance system that is mounted onto its two-story house.

"We think he knew where the cameras were and he knew how to duck them," said Skarda. "He didn't just waltz over and do it. The fact that he had a plan, and knew where to look, and not where to look based off of cameras on our house and in the neighborhood as well, the fact that it was premeditated makes it all the scarier because he had been scoping it out for who knows how long. Who knows how many times he's looked in the backyard and checkout the house and that's just kind of unsettling."

With their two-year bulldog named Dexter now gone, it has left the entire Skarda family shaken and upset.

"It's just a scary thing in little Nipomo that that type of stuff is happening and a dog of all things," said Skarda. "People know how much dogs mean to families"

Dexter was a beloved member of the family, joining them soon after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help all of the family members deal with the uncertain times.

"We got him during Covid and he was a big emotional support for my sister and my family through that tough time," said Skarda. "To have that happen, it's just crazy to think about and it's something you would never think would happen to you."

In the brief video, the man is seen wearing a black sweatshirt and mask covering the lower portion of his face.

As he is running away with Dexter, the family's other dog, a three-year-old miniature schnauzer named Bentley can been chasing after him.

"He chased him as far as we can see because the video only goes so far," said Skarda. "He chased him down to the end of the courtyard, so a solid 50 to 100 feet trying to nip at his heels and bark and make noise, but he's only like 10 pounds, so there's only so much he can really do, and the fact that he came back and waited for me to come home, that just shows how good of dog he was and how scared he was for his brother."

Skarda added that since Dexter was taken, they have noticed a significant change in behavior in Bentley.

"He saw it happen and he couldn't stop it," said Skarda. "He's been having shortness of breath. He's been panicking. He's barely eaten because he knows what's been happening and he's scared as we are. The fact that I can tell he's messed up, that shows just how much it truly means to him."

According to industry sources, French bulldogs are currently one of the most sought after breeds of dogs.

"We see different breeds popular at different times we go through and right now, this breed is a very popular breed and in high demand, so that does put it at a higher risk for being stolen," said Eric Anderson, San Luis Obispo County Animal Services Manager. "In addition, small dogs that can be easily picked up and carried off, as opposed to a larger animal that's a little bit more difficult to handle, certainly those that a little more friendly and receptive and are easy to approach and easy to handle for strangers, probably because of their temperament a little bit more high risk as well. French bulldog fits all those characteristics, and so that does fit a little bit of a concern pattern for that dog."

The breed can fetch several thousands of dollars on the market, making them a target of theft.

Most notably, two French bulldogs belonging to singer Lady Gaga were stolen last year during a violent incident that resulted in her dog walker being shot by an assailant.

The San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office said Friday the county has not seen many reports of recent dog theft.

Anyone who has information on the theft or the whereabouts of Dexter can contact the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

Article Topic Follows: Animals

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Dave Alley

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