Kidnapped Dog Who Thieves Took at Gunpoint for Ransom Reunited With Owner

A dog has been returned to its owners by police after thieves stole it and demanded a ransom.

The armed thieves stole the French bulldog, called Venus, from its owner Johana Jaramillo in Bogotá, Colombia, on Tuesday.

Jaramillo described the sequence of events in a series of tweets. The distraught owner described how the thieves showed up in a blacked-out vehicle and grabbed the dog at gunpoint before driving away.

One tweet, translated from Spanish, read: "We only ask that you do not harm Venus. She is part of our family, our love." Jaramillo said the thieves were in possession of a revolver—a type of handgun, and had also used "a vehicle with a false license plate."

Jaramillo also said the thieves had demanded a ransom, which she described as "two million" but did not clarify the currency, for the dog's return.

"They took a piece of our hearts," the owner said, calling on social media users to help spread the word.

Within just one day of the theft, however, law enforcement agencies confirmed that Venus had been safely returned to her owners.

Fiscalía Colombia, the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia, shared a video of the dog back in its owners' hands on Wednesday and tweeted that an investigation was ongoing to prosecute the alleged perpetrators.

Footage of the dog's return was also shared by the Gaula Policía—Colombia's anti-kidnapping and anti-extortion service.

The agency wrote via its Twitter account: "Joy, emotion, euphoria, love; those are the feelings that we can return to this family..."

Jaramillo wrote upon the dog's return: "Venus is with us and we are happy and grateful for so much solidarity from the people."

Colombia is known for its high crime levels. The U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory for the country on January 24, asking people not to travel there due to COVID but also to "reconsider travel to Colombia due to crime."

"Exercise increased caution in Colombia due to civil unrest, terrorism, and kidnapping," the travel advisory said.

The issue of pet-related crime was recently highlighted in the U.S. after private investigators specializing in the return of stolen pets told Time magazine in 2021 that thefts had been on the increase.

Karin TarQwyn, a private investigator in Nebraska, told the magazine that calls to her agency had increased by around 60 to 70 percent in the previous 18 months, averaging three to five requests per week.

French bulldogs in particular are said to be among the most popular to steal from owners.

One such dognapping case made headlines in 2021 after armed thieves escaped with two French bulldogs and shot the dogwalker who was caring for them, severely injuring him, in February. The dogs were owned by singer Lady Gaga.

The dogs were eventually returned and Los Angeles police confirmed that five people had been charged in connection with the shooting.

French bulldog
A stock image of a French bulldog—not the one described in the article. A dog of the same breed was recently stolen in Colombia but was later returned to its owners. fotokostic/Getty