2 of Lady Gaga’s dogs, Gustavo (left) and Koji (right), were kidnapped on February 25, 2021.
Like most of the seasoned private investigators in my office (most of whom are former DEA, FBI, IRS or Secret Service agents), I was surprised and stunned by Lady Gaga’s generous and spectacular $500,000 reward for the return of her two French Bulldogs. Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot during the robbery of the dogs, though he is expected to make a full recovery.
Gaga’s no dummy. She’s got the right idea. You recover the dogs, or you get nothing.
Regardless, this event has caused a few so-called expert “pet detectives” to come out from behind the curtain. These people pontificate how they can retrieve your pet with outlandish claims of scent tracking and conducting background investigations (the later used to spur investigative fees). They make wild claims about their high-recovery rates, investigative skill set and ability of their own tracking dogs.
The thing is, there is no solid evidence that their recovery rate is going to be any better than your own. Truth be told, you should never hire them as you can do all the sleuthing on your own.
My agency has never take on a lost pet case. We have often provided (during press interviews and/or radio/TV appearances) a road-map of how to conduct an investigation on your own. Since the vast majority of pets that disappear are not stolen, you should focus on that during the recovery process.
If you want to know how to do that, I have a post titled You Can Be Your Own Pet Detective: How To Find Your Lost Pet that may be of assistance.
If you need further proof that pet detectives are a waste of money, I suggest you interview one.
- They will “help” you do a flyer and tell you where to post them in your community. You can do that.
- They will help you “screen” calls so you don’t get scammed. You can do that.
- They will charge unnecessary and outlandish fees to bring their dog in an effort to pickup your pet’s scent. Wrong.
Pet detectives are like “psychics” on a murder case who say they have mentally ascertained that the body is “near water”. That is helpful since 71% of the Earth’s surface is water.
Some of these “detectives” will charge you a retainer of between $500 to $1,000 for their “help.”
Don’t be fooled or mislead. We all love our pets and when they go missing it is like losing a family member. We all get that. It’s just that pet detectives simply don’t bring any value to the table that you can’t do on your own.