French bulldog breeders in Alberta worry puppies being targeted by thieves

Albertans who work with French bulldogs worry the breed is being targeted by thieves.

On Sunday a Lethbridge woman was injured trying to stop a couple from stealing five of her puppies.

And in November, Cochrane RCMP were called in after a French bulldog breeder had one of her pups stolen.

Jason Schultz is with the Alberta Bulldog Rescue Society.

"As a dog owner it is very concerning, it has become a bit more common," he said. "I think partially, you see with the breed being more prevalent in media, TV, movies, etc., it's done two things: it's increased the popularity and it's also caused the price to increase so you do see, unfortunately, more instances like this."

Schultz said purebred French bulldog puppies can range anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 or more, depending on how unique their colouring is, which makes them more of a target.

"Not everybody is necessarily willing or able to spend $2,000 and up on a puppy, especially when there are ways to get it cheaper than that by resorting to less than legal methods," he said.

Calgary breeder and owner of Paris Moon Kennel Renata Dabrowski recalled a strange encounter of her own when some people came to her house to look at her dogs. They suddenly took off when her husband showed up.

"They wanted to steal the dog, I think," she said. "I have that feeling because after I phoned there is nobody answering. And why did they run away?"

Dabrowski said she no longer shows dogs on her own.

Both she and Schultz said all French bulldog owners should ensure their animals are chipped and tattooed —  and owners should avoid leaving the animals alone with strangers.