Second French bulldog stolen on LI returned: cops



The second French bulldog snatched from a Long Island home over the Thanksgiving weekend has been returned to his owners, Suffolk County cops said Monday. 

Zushi, a 3-month-old male puppy, was dognapped from a home on Farrington Avenue sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, authorities said. 

The burglar or burglars also took clothing and cash from the Bay Shore home after breaking in through the back door of the house, according to cops.

Zushi’s owner, Catherine Vasquez, 29, told The Post that Zushi was dropped off at an animal hospital in Coram — and that she found out fast because he was microchipped.

“I was ecstatic,” the 29-year-old said. “I was very excited. I was very happy. My son was right next to me when they called so I packed both my kids in the car and we went to go pick him up.”

When they arrived, Zushi’s reaction was priceless, she said.

“Oh my God, he was so excited,” she said of the puppy. “Zushi just literally jumped back into our arms.”

She said the burglars who stole her $6,000 pup also took about $4,000 in cash and thousands more in luxury brand goods from her home Saturday night. She hopes the crooks face the highest penalty possible.

Stella dognapped
A 4-year-old French bulldog named Stella was dognapped while her owners ate Thanksgiving dinner at a relative’s house.

But in the end, she’s just glad to have Zushi back before her youngest son’s birthday party.

“He turns 3 this Friday,” she said. “We’re going to be able to celebrate his birthday and he won’t be upset that his dog is missing.”

The disturbing incident came after someone broke into a Huntington home on Thursday and grabbed a 4-year-old French bulldog named Stella while her owners ate Thanksgiving dinner at a relative’s house.

Stella was found unharmed two days later in Center Moriches.

Owner Matthew Hauck, 34, told The Post he believed the dognapping was a crime of opportunity committed by a suspect or suspects that were looking to target empty houses over the holiday.

Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said he thinks the thieves saw dollar signs when they swiped the dogs.

“Well, it’s really all about the money,” Gross said. “I mean, that’s the bottom line.”

“And these French bulldogs are in high demand,” he added. “They could be worth thousands of dollars … And [it’s] very unusual to have something like this where somebody breaks into the house and steals the dogs back to back like that. I don’t ever recall anything at all in my career. I don’t recall anything like that.”

Matthew and Jennifer Hauck's happy reunion with Stella.
Matthew and Jennifer Hauck’s happy reunion with Stella.
Family handout

Gross said the suspects likely gave up the dogs because of the wave of media attention.

“Think about it — somebody’s watching this or reading about it and they see … somebody with a French bulldog,” he said. “Right away, they go, ‘Hey, I wonder if that’s the dog.’ So there’s so much heat on them that they probably figured this is not a good idea — I’m gonna get caught and it’s not worth it. And they ended up releasing the dog.”

He urged owners to avoid posting photos of their pets on social media to stay off would-be thieves’ radar.

No arrests have been made in either dognapping, and investigators are probing whether the two are connected. 


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