I’ve spent some of the past week perusing a book on Brighton bus names given to me by the lovely Syleth after she read my confession last week of my new hobby of bus-spotting. It’s an interesting read, but one entry in particular caught my eye.

A bus called only “Bruce”.

What kind of person only has one name, you might ask? A dog, that’s who. Bruce was a Sussex Police dog who was summarily put down by the force after (in the words of the book) “he bit an offender’s ear”.  The case caused a huge public outcry, and in response, Brighton and Hove buses quickly named a bus after him.

It’s a pretty sad story. Sure, it’s great that they named a bus after Bruce, but that’s not much consolation for him – what with him being dead – nor the devastated family left behind by the decision. (The handler, his wife, and their two children). Beyond that, two thoughts occur to me.

Firstly, and I’m aware that I’m risking going a little bit Daily Mail here, it was an offender that he bit, after all. Someone engaged in a fight involving knives and bottles.

Secondly, even if you might conclude that this makes him unsuited for police work, does it therefore follow from there that death is the only option? After all, it’s now more than four months since a Metropolitan policeman launched a cowardly, vicious and totally unjustifiable attack on a man that may have caused the man’s subsequent death – and he’s yet to be charged with anything!

It’s seems to me that Bruce’s biggest crime wasn’t that he bit an offender’s ear.

It was that he walked on four paws.

Four legs might be good, but two legs is still clearly better. At least as far as Sussex police are concerned.