Former Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is facing legal trouble in the United States after failing to appear in court over a $30,000 reward he offered for his missing dog.
How Sturridge’s dog was stolen and found
Sturridge, who played for Liverpool from 2013 to 2019, had his dog Lucci, a Pomeranian with Husky markings, stolen from his house in Los Angeles in July 2019. He posted a video on Instagram pleading for the return of his pet and offering a reward of up to $30,000.
A few days later, Sturridge announced that he had been reunited with Lucci, thanks to a tip from an American rapper named Foster Washington, who goes by the stage name Killa Fame. Washington claimed that he found the dog wandering the streets and contacted Sturridge through social media.
How the reward dispute escalated into a legal battle
However, Washington said that he did not receive the reward from Sturridge, despite providing proof that he had the dog. He accused Sturridge of being ungrateful and dishonest, and filed a lawsuit against him in 2020, seeking $32,000 in damages.
In February 2021, a court in Los Angeles ruled in favor of Washington and ordered Sturridge to pay him $30,000 plus interest and legal fees. Sturridge did not attend the trial and did not respond to the judgment.
In September 2021, Sturridge was summoned to appear in court for a debtor’s exam, which is a procedure to determine his assets and income. However, he failed to show up again, prompting the judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.
How Washington and his lawyer reacted to Sturridge’s no-show
Washington and his lawyer, Robert A. Ryan Jr., expressed their frustration with Sturridge’s behavior and said they would pursue the case until they get their money.
“He thinks he’s above the law. He thinks he can do whatever he wants. He thinks he can ignore the court and get away with it. He’s wrong,” Washington said.
Ryan added that Sturridge’s arrest warrant was valid nationwide and that he could be detained by any law enforcement agency if he entered the US. He also said that he would seek to enforce the judgment in the UK if necessary.
“He can run but he can’t hide. We will find him and we will make him pay,” Ryan said.
How Sturridge’s career and life have changed since the dog incident
Sturridge, who scored 67 goals in 160 appearances for Liverpool and won the Champions League with them in 2019, left the club as a free agent in 2019 and joined Turkish side Trabzonspor. However, he was banned from football for four months in 2020 for breaching betting rules. He terminated his contract with Trabzonspor and has not played professionally since then.
He announced his retirement from football in August 2023 at the age of 34. He also worked as a pundit for Sky Sports until August 2023, but has not appeared on their shows since then.
Sturridge has not commented publicly on the dog reward dispute or the arrest warrant. He has not posted anything on his Instagram account since July 2019, when he shared the video of his reunion with Lucci.
What do you think of Sturridge’s situation? Do you think he should pay the reward to Washington or not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.