TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — French bulldogs are at the center of a disturbing new trend. The popular breed is being targeted by thieves.

Some are being violently stolen from their owners, including Lady Gaga. Her dog walker was shot last year, and her two dogs were stolen. It’s also happening here in the Tampa Bay area.

While breeding French bulldogs is not an easy task, it’s become a lucrative business. It’s what made Johnathon Torres retire from nursing more than 6 years ago.

“I have learned in this industry you have to be very careful about who you’re dealing with, it’s taking such a turn in the past two years,” he said.

Frenchie’s are seen as designer dogs.

“People don’t look at them as pets anymore, they look at them as a Louis Vuitton bag or diamond necklace,” Torres said.

The breed is now a hot commodity.

“I remember hearing the door crack open and hear someone say the dogs are in the back,” he said.

Four months ago, two intruders entered Torres’ home with a gun.

“They tried to steal my dogs from me and during that, I was actually shot as well as Charlie here,” said Torres.

Charlie, one of the dogs, miraculously survived. Torres believes it was a potential buyer who hasn’t been caught. He said it all boils down to money.

Torres said criminals are using this high-valued cash business to launder money, which is making breeding all that more dangerous.

“People need to be aware that they’re not just buying a dog, they’re buying a hot item that’s like a Louis Vuitton bag or a diamond necklace and I think you need to protect yourself and be aware of your surroundings whenever you go out with the dog,” he said.