Soccer Star Ordered to Pay Reward for Return of Lost Dog

At least his dog is OK

Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge of Perth Glory during warm-up ahead of the Round 1 A-League soccer match between Perth Glory FC and Adelaide United FC on November 20, 2021 at HBF Park in Perth, Australia.
Graham Conaty/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you’re a prominent professional athlete and you offer a reward for something on social media, here’s a piece of advice: honor the terms you set up. Otherwise, you might end up in a situation that should have involved a heartwarming reunion of a man and his dog, but instead turned into a drawn-out legal battle.

At the center of it is English soccer player Daniel Sturridge, whose stints at Chelsea and Liverpool brought him no small amount of renown. In 2019, Sturridge took to social media with some alarming news — that someone had broken into his Los Angeles home, and that his (ridiculously adorable) Pomeranian Lucci was missing

“I want my dog back and I’ll pay whatever,” Sturridge said on Instagram. “It doesn’t matter the cost. Bring my dog back. 20, 30 grand whatever it costs.” Sturridge didn’t specify the currency, though one would assume that — as an Englishman living in the United States — he was referring to either dollars or pounds.

It’s here that the case took a turn. As The New York Times reports, a Los Angeles man named named Foster Washington found Lucci and returned the dog to Sturridge. What he didn’t get was the reward, which ultimately led to Washington filing a lawsuit. That, in turn, led a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to issue a default judgment in favor of Washington for $30,000.

For his part, Sturridge has argued that he already paid a reward for Lucci’s return. It’s been a challenging month for Sturridge, who has also been dealing with various issues at current club Perth Glory — including a COVID-related quarantine affecting the entire team.

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