A Holiday Hero: Bruce, the Canine Political Prisoner

As the holidays approach, we at Care2 are reviewing some of the stories we’ve covered this year.  We want to highlight for you our Holiday Heroes.

Reflecting on my favorite Holiday Hero, I can’t think of a more admirable champion than Bruce, the dog.  Bruce lived in Northern Ireland where the draconian DDA (Dangerous Dog Act) is still law.  It gives the government the right to seize any dog — simply because of his/her looks — and euthanize them. Yes, BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) is the canine equivalent of racial profiling.

Bruce is an American Staffordshire terrier who was taken from his family because he looks like a pit bull.  Bruce had never bitten a soul or shown aggression toward a human, animal or inanimate object!  But he was taken just the same, and kept in a kennel for nearly three years while his appeal case dragged through the courts.

The happy fact is Bruce was finally given a reprieve and allowed to live out his life at EGAR (East Galway Animal Rescue) where he was transported this past July 29.  Sarah Gunther — the angel from EGAR who never gave up her commitment to Bruce – rescued him and reports Bruce is doing very well.

Sarah told me in an email “Bruce… passed all assessments with flying colours and is now fully trained as well. He learnt Down, Stay, Heel, Into Bed, Here, Look at Me and is 100% housetrained. He is also bombproof with cats and other dogs, horses, cows and donkeys. He is taking commands from my 6 year old and takes treats very gently.”

“The only problem I have with him is extreme fence aggression, if the gate is open he welcomes all visitors with no problem but if the gate is closed and someone is on the other side then he gets very agitated. It has nothing to do with being territorial; it is simply a sign of his solitary confinement and the taunts he must have endured” said Sarah.

So why is Bruce worthy of hero status?

The lesson here is any living being who can endure this suffering and come out holding no grudge or a desire for revenge is the consummate hero.   What do you think?

Photo of Bruce smiling with permission of eirefoto.com


Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine6 years ago

I will never disown Ireland; U2 et al.
However, every dog has it's day - in court, in confinement (whether within family unit or not). One's true grit is not in it's grip, but, in it's ability to shine through in spite of humans' shame.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

Three years is a long time to be caged, and I'm glad that Bruce is happy now with Sarah from EGAR, but what about his original family? He doesn't get to go home?

These laws go WAY overboard -- people have WAY too much fear. I've known MANY pit bulls, who are pussy cats. Just as with us humans, each must be judged individually, not as a category.

irene davis
irene davis7 years ago

thanks for posting.

Linda C.
Linda C7 years ago

Draconian law indeed!! Guess my tourist dollars will never go to Ireland!! Good story and glad Bruce is well & happy. My dog failed "birdog 101" because she's gunshy but I never knew about bicycle issues....she goes nuts when they ride past the house, has bitten 2 riders (who got behind their bikes and as I was going to get her they began to tease her w/ the bikes by making tossing gestures w/ them, she snuck around their backs and bit 'em in the ass!! Serves 'em right - animal control laughed but I DO keep her more restrained now, both incidents were accidental getting loose things......oh well..... the bikers know Mia real well now when they come by the house!!

Janeen R.
Janeen R.7 years ago

Please help, I am trying to access the site - "Swiss Town Threatens To Kill Dogs Over Taxes Due", so that I am able to leave a comment but to no avail.
Also, yes why wasn't Bruce given back to his family, poor boy.

Jean Sleigh
Jean Sleigh7 years ago

@Jamie Clemons: ...and so could you be, honey...

Own up Jamie, you are the 1% No vote...

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons7 years ago

He could be a dangerous dog.

Peggy Peters
Peggy Peters7 years ago

Thank heaven for organizations like EGAR! May Bruce's story be an inspiration that can evoke necessary attitude and leagal changes in 2011!!
Way to go Bruce and family!!!

Irene L.
Irene L.7 years ago

stupid law maybe ugly people like them should be banned to an island far out at sea

Janet K.
Janet K7 years ago

Bruce!!!!!!!!!!! You're the man!