The man who shot Lady Gaga’s dog walker has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.
As part of the no-contest plea, James Howard Jackson admitted to inflicting great bodily injury on the man he shot in the chest–Ryan Fischer. Fischer survived the robbery attempt in which two French bulldogs were stolen.
“The plea agreement holds Mr. Jackson accountable for perpetrating a cold-hearted, violent act and provides justice for our victim,” says the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in the announcement of the settlement.
The incident happened February 2021 when Fischer was walking three French bulldogs before being assaulted and shot. At the time, Lady Gaga offered a reward of $500,000 for the dogs’ safe return to her–no questions asked. The dogs were later returned to authorities two days later by a woman who said she found them.
Fischer told police he was out walking the dogs when a four-door sedan pulled over next to him. He says two men jumped out of the vehicle and attempted to steal the animals. When he fought back, one of the men shot him and then loaded two of the dogs into the vehicle. Another dog managed to escape and was found by police later.
Designer dog breed theft is a major crime in the United States and the UK. More than 1,909 designer dogs were stolen in 2017 alone, according to this report. French bulldogs are a high-value target, and theft of these breeds has risen 27% since that 2017 report on designer dog thievery.
Five people were arrested in connection with the case, ages ranging from 18 to 50. The woman who turned the dogs over to the police was later charged with being an accessory after the fact, and her case remains pending. Co-defendant Harold White pleaded no contest to a weapons charge and will be sentenced next year. Jaylin White and Lafayette Whaley also pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery. White received four years in prison, while Whaley received six years.