Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

'Courageous and determined' former police dog Buster who chased down burglar on first shift dies aged 15

  • Former police dog Buster has died aged 15.
  • He served Northumbria Police from eight weeks old until retirement.
  • During his career major achievements were finding two murder suspects and a missing girl.
Credit: Northumbria Police

German Shepherd Buster was taken on by Northumbria Police in 2004 at just eight-weeks-old.

He was the only one out of the litter of eight to pass his training.

During his career he was responsible for tracking down criminals, finding vulnerable missing people and sniffing out vital evidence for investigations.

On his very first night shift he chased down a burglar!

PD Buster retired in 2010 and from then on lived with his handler and his family.

He was the last survivor of his litter.

Buster was a very courageous and determined dog and I think that is what kept him going so long. He was loyal and loving his whole life and was always willing to have a go and to protect me from danger. Even at the last, when he was about to be put down, he had a go at the vet because he wanted to protect me.

It is very tough to lose him as he is the only dog I have had since they were just a baby, the others have always been donated to me.

It never gets any easier but it has been particularly hard with him. He was a one man dog and I was the only one who could handle him and he stuck with me right to the end.

– Dave Heywood
Credit: Northumbria Police

All working police dogs live outside in a kennel, but when Buster retired he was able to come inside and take part in family life - alongside his handler's other former police dogs.

He had a good nose and most of his work was finding missing people and stolen goods but on his very last shift he did manage to trace two murder suspects.

I took him to a derby when he was just a pup and he was trying to have a go then, it didn’t faze him, and that is the kind of dog he was.

– Dave Heywood