Venice Mascot Allegedly Dognapped

VENICE (CBS) — A trained dog known that has become a fixture on Venice Beach is missing again.

Owner Johnny Mitchell said “Austin”, a.k.a “Fly N Lion”, was “dognapped” about 5:45 p.m. Dec. 9 on Windward Avenue near Dannys Bar & Grill.

The pooch was last seen chasing a group of teens who were walking two, small white poodles and a small, brown pit bull while headed west on Windward near Pacific Avenue, he said.

He wasn’t on a leash because he’s “a trained dog,” Mitchell said.

“I’m heartbroken,” Mitchell said. “I still have to function, and play music and he’s not here. I have to have faith because we’ve come too far to end this way,” he said.

Venice Resident Asks For Help Finding Performer Dog

Austin was snatched two years ago just before Halloween, but was returned after five days by a “girl and crew” who took him to Orange County, Mitchell said.

Austin is 7 years old and weighs 12 pounds, with blonde sable-colored hair shaved to look like a lion with a Mohawk. He did not have his harness or tags on.

Mitchell said “Austin” is a “local legend and mascot loved by the community.”

He said that the two have distinguished themselves performing on a skateboard, and traveled to the Sundance Film Festival, Winter X Games, Torino Winter Olympics and Times Square, and the dog has been filmed in numerous music videos and tourism shows.

He starred in a movie and, according to Mitchell, has his own band, also called “Fly N Lion”, and “thousands of tourists have had their hearts captured by Austin’s regal charm.”

His latest video cameo was in Slash’s new music video “Back From Cali.”

Austin and Mitchell also appear on a long-standing mural in Venice currently being restored on the west wall of Dannys Bar & Grill facing the beach.

Mitchell said he’ll offer $500 reward for the pooch’s return, no questions asked.

“Just bring him back,” added Mitchell, “He’s my kid, my son.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • Yo Dog Ain't Trained

    “He wasn’t on a leash because he’s a trained dog” has to be the stupidest comment I have ever heard. If he was so well trained, then why was he chasing someone’s poodles and a pit who were on a leash. I hope this idiot never gets his “Trained” dog back. I run into these stupid kind of people all the time. They refuse to put their dog on a leash and their dog causes fights and runs away. I hate these know-it-all idiots that have no clue about anyone but themselves. Put your stupid looking lion wanna-be dog on a leash you moron. We are sick of your dog running loose.

    • Myfilmlife

      Thank god that dog is gone. It always chased and attacked other animals on Venice Beach. Why was that stupid owner ever allowed to let it off a leash running around? The Police ticket u for walking funny and they never did that to him? Bizarre.

  • Click Mort

    If Austin is only 7 years old how is it that he appears on a twenty-year old mural?

    • painters hideaway

      This mural is currently being repainted, and the new version includes Austin. The original did not. Austin is a really cool dog, and I agree Johnny should keep him on a leash. But no one could mistake this for a stray dog and they shouldn’t have taken him! Please return Austin!

  • Poopch Police

    I hope Animal Control gives this idiot multiple citations for breaking the leash law

  • Sage Advice

    The pooch was last seen chasing a group of teens with two small white poodles and a small brown pit bull walking west on Windward near Pacific Avenue, he said.

    He wasn’t on a leash because he’s a trained dog, Mitchell said.

    The words that come to mind here are OXYMORON and MORON!!!


  • Dave

    I agree.downtown la is full of idiots that don’t put dogs on a lease.your dog is not anymore special than mine

  • jake

    you would think the idiot would learn to put the “trained dog” on a leash after the first incident!! Dog owners get on my nerves Leash laws aren’t only to protect bystanders they are to protect the dog as well!! its hard to steel a dog on a leash thats attached to the owner!! no pity for this idiot!!

  • HamBone

    What did you expect?
    Not on a lease
    The owner needs training!

  • Johnny

    Be decent…don’t take other peoples kids or dogs. The time spent propelling degrading comments couldve been spent posting ways to find the pup. What if one your loved ones gets lost. Be decent and good to one another. We are all connected. When the pup gets returned will you still be a hater?

  • jessie

    Praying for Austin’s safe return.

  • jai t

    i can’t believe all the moronic dog haters out there – ‘ leash ‘ not ‘lease’.

    this dog is beautiful and absolutely loved getting air. this story really makes me sad.

    please help find him.

  • gabo

    For all those who are attacking Johnny about the unleashed trained dog he ment about the dog have never attacked or had any misconduct ever. Johnny have all the right to ask for help, if you are not part of the solution don´t be part of the problem, step aside and let the good people help on this. You´ll find Austin soon Johnny!

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  • chrissy

    Help find Austin!!! Nobody deserves to lose their pet, or have it taken away. To all the people leaving negative remarks u must not know what its like to lose something, and u probably have no sense of understanding, and no ounce of sympathy and compassion for another human being.For this I pray for u and for Austins safe return (: Hope u find him u are a good pet owner it takes patience to train a doggy

  • Ultra Mike

    Bring Austin back!!! Venice is a small community where everyone knows one another. Anyone who has something negative to say about this situation does NOT know the community or this pup. If anyone should be on a leash, its you idiots. Johnny and Austin are Venice Beach royalty. Check yourselves fools.

  • Elaine

    Are their any updates or leads on “Austin”? I have not seen anything since the report of his disappearance. I have a pomeranian much like “Austin” and I would be devastated if he ever disappeared.

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