Lady Gaga's dogwalker recovering after shooting

Lady Gaga sings the National Anthem at the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden on the West Front of the US Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

HUDSON — Before moving to Los Angeles, Lady Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer volunteered at the Hudson Area Library and walked dogs in the Greenport Conservation Area.

Fischer, a former Hudson resident, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest after a struggle in Hollywood at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday when two robbers jumped out of a white sedan and stole two of the celebrity’s three French bulldogs, according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Kevin Sessums, editor in chief of Sessums Magazine, posted a photo on Instagram late this week with Fischer and artist/activist Justin Vivian Bond at local coffee and motorcycle shop, Moto, at 357 Warren St. The photo was taken “back during a summer during a happier time,” according to the post.

Fischer often cared for Lady Gaga’s dogs in Hudson when she was on tour, according to Sessums’s post.

“He always brought a smile to my face when I’d run into him on the street,” Sessums wrote.

Fischer was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center declined to comment Saturday in an emailed statement.

Lady Gaga posted on social media Friday, “I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero.”

The singer-songwriter and actress, who won an Academy Award in 2019 for the original song “Shallow” in “A Star Is Born,” posted about Fischer on Facebook at 4:40 p.m. Friday. The post received more than 35,000 comments and the post was liked on Twitter more than 103,000 times within the first 21 hours.

Lady Gaga’s dogs, Koji and Gustav, were recovered at about 6 p.m. Friday when a woman returned them to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Olympic station, said Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who leads the department’s Robbery-Homicide Division.

The woman said she believed the dogs belonged to Lady Gaga. Detectives assigned to the case and Lady Gaga’s representatives went to the station and confirmed the dogs were the singer’s pets, Tippet said.

Rich Volo, also known as Trixie Starr, recalled Saturday he initially met Fischer at Hudson’s farmers market.

Volo went on dog walks with Fischer in the Greenport Conservation Area, he said, around 2017 and 2018. Volo formerly served as the 4th Ward alderman in 2018 and 2019.

OutHudson Director Charlie Ferrusi saw Fischer walk Lady Gaga’s dogs in Hudson without knowing the pets belonged to the famed singer, songwriter and actress.

“I had seen the dogs and met the dogs, but I never knew they were Lady Gaga’s dogs,” he said Saturday.

Ferrusi has also seen Fischer at parades in Hudson within the past decade, he said.

Fischer also performed at Club Helsinki and volunteered at the circulation desk at the Hudson Area Library, 51 N. Fifth St.

He was trained in September 2018, said Brenda Shufelt, the library’s history room coordinator. Fischer left the library in April 2019, when he left Hudson for Los Angeles.

Shufelt describes Fischer as “dapper,” saying he always wore a hat and tie.

“He is just a wonderful person,” Shufelt said Saturday. “I remember when he left to take a dog-walking position and I don’t even think he told us it was [for] Lady Gaga.” 

Most of the library’s volunteers are senior citizens, which Shufelt said made Fischer dedicating time at the circulation desk particularly special.

“I don’t want to use clichés, but I feel like he is a really special person and a person not after fanfare, but a really great guy,” she added.

Once, a patron left a wedding album behind and Fischer went through all the photos to gather more information and find its owner, she recalled. 

“We’re praying and hoping for him,” she said.

The night of the incident, Fischer was approached by a white four-door Nissan Altima in the 1500 block of North Sierra Bonita Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. Two men exited the vehicle and demanded to Fischer at gunpoint he give them the dogs.

Fischer was shot once in the chest with a suspected semi-automatic handgun, according to police. The men sped away in the Altima after taking two of Gaga’s three pets.

Police describe the alleged robbers as two Black men between 20 and 25 years old.

Police said Saturday they have no suspects in the attack. Law enforcement believes their motive was kidnapping the dogs, but are not sure the robbers knew the French bulldogs belonged to the pop star.

Tippet said Saturday he would not name the woman who returned Lady Gaga’s pets, but said she was not involved in the robbery nor associated with the assailants.

“I don’t want to get into any discussions about her or where the dogs were actually located,” Tippet said. “We’re providing very little information on this because this is an ongoing investigation and because we are also concerned about her safety.”

Lady Gaga offered $500,000 reward for the return of her dogs, Koji and Gustav, with no questions asked.

“If you bought or found them unknowingly, the reward is the same,” she said in a statement Friday afternoon, later adding, “My heart is sick and I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness.”

A few Hudson residents who know Fisher declined to be interviewed or provide comment Saturday.

Tribune News Service contributed to this report.

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