The purebred and prized French Bulldog, a 5-year-old named named El Che, was stolen along with 15 of his puppies from well-known breeder Marcelo Cicuta’s home as he was out celebrating the holiday with friends.
Miami police say two litters were stolen, but because they are so young – just weeks old – the pups may not live without the care of their two mothers, who were left behind in the theft along with a third letter of pups.
“I need help. They need their mothers,” the 39-year-old Cicuta said Thursday. “They need milk from their mother, or any mother for survival.”
Investigators said the dognappers targeted Cicuta’s home and broke in through a bedroom window, stuffing the dogs into sacks but leaving behind other valuables, such as Cicuta’s laptop, iPad and jewelry.
“What’s distinct about this case is someone may have known he had a champion show dog,” said Officer Kenia Reyes, a police spokeswoman.
Cicuta agrees that the burglary was likely committed by someone who knew details of his business, adding that his remaining dogs were probably left behind because the burglars didn’t have the time or ability to take them all.
Lisa Peterson, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, said dog abductions are on the rise and that French Bulldogs are the third-most stolen breed in the U.S., according to her figures.
“There is a huge black market where people grab dogs, then turn around and sell them,” Peterson said. “A dog that would normally cost hundreds or thousands of dollars would be at a discount.”