Police dog stabbed to death by robber

2015-01-12 11:46
Bruno the police dog. (The Witness)

Bruno the police dog. (The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Amanda Khoza, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - “Bruno would not let go, not even once, he risked his life for me and died a hero.”

These were the words of distraught police dog handler Bianca Cantello, who is grieving the loss of her K9 partner who was killed while apprehending a suspect in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Bruno, an award-winning 7-year-old German Shepherd, was stabbed to death by a knife-wielding suspect when he and Cantello rushed to help other policemen who had stopped a suspect vehicle with stolen household goods in Ashburton.

Three men had already been arrested and two had fled into the bushes.

Last moments

Tears welled in Cantello’s eyes as she recounted Bruno’s last moments.

“The K9 Unit received a call from members of the Alexandra police station informing us that they had stopped a white Toyota Hilux with stolen goods.”

Cantello and her team immediately went to Ashburton.

“We went into the bush and Bruno was on a leash. We got to a hill and the suspect came out of the bush and started running.

“I released Bruno with a command to attack and apprehend the suspect. He caught the man on the leg and he went down. The suspect took out a knife and started stabbing Bruno,” said Cantello.

The devastated policewoman watched as her partner was stabbed continuously.

“He wouldn’t let go of the suspect, not even once.


The suspect got up and tried to attack me with the knife and then I shot him.”

“He carried on running after I had shot him and I ran after him shouting at him to stop.

“A few moments later Bruno collapsed and the suspect collapsed next to him,” she said.

Cantello said she will always remember Bruno as a loving, friendly dog.

“We have been working together for three years and although he was very friendly, he was a hard-working dog.

“He even won a trophy for the best dog in the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit. He saved my life and died a hero, I am very sad,” said an emotional Cantello.

On Saturday Bruno’s remains were taken to a Durban veterinarian where he was cremated.


Acting Pietermaritzburg cluster commander Brigadier Francis Bantham was appalled by the incident.

“This is the third dog down but if it wasn’t for him, the policewoman would have died.

“The provincial commissioner is saddened by this incident,” she said.

“We have a class coming up to train new dogs.

“We are devastated by this because even though this is their role, handlers get attached to their partners. No dog is the same,” said Bantham.

Last year Hillcrest police K9 Shaka went missing after chasing robbery suspects.

After a massive search effort his body was found in a river.

An autopsy revealed that he had been stabbed several times.

In October last year, a long-serving Pietermaritzburg SAPS K9 search and rescue unit dog was killed while on duty.

Storm, a Rottweiler, was chasing criminals with his handler in the Copesville informal settlement when the dog was electrocuted by illegally connected electrical wires

Read more on:    police  |  pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  animals

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Matric Results are coming soon!

Notify me when results become available

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.