Inspector Tom (d.1870)

In March 1870, the Huddersfield Chronicle reported on the death of "Inspector Tom", a hound dog who had been connected with the town's Borough Police Force for several years.[1]

According to the article, he was a stray who turned up at the station one day and, despite repeated attempts to forcefully eject him from the building, he kept returning and "subsequently obtained shelter at the station, which he hereafter recognised as 'head quarters'." Thereafter adopted as "one of the force", the policemen decided to call him "Tom".

He reportedly learned to recognise the various officers and constables and would, "when his appetite pinched him", track them back to their homes to ask for food. Tom also became so accustomed to the station's routines that he would regularly attend the daily parade and sit proudly alongside the policemen during the inspection.

The Chronicle noted that he was "docile and companionable, but, among other virtues, he could raise such an alarm as would scare the basest of nocturnal street prowlers."

In early 1870, a prisoner escaped from the station and Tom gave chase. The faithful hound soon caught up with the man and "seized him by the trousers", holding him securely until an officer arrived. This brave act led to him being giving an honorary promotion and he was presented with a new dog collar which proclaimed him an "Inspector".

Sadly, not long after, it seems Tom was bitten by another dog that was suffering from distemper and, rather than allow him to suffer a painful death from the disease, the station had him put down.[2]

The Chronicle article ended by lamenting the passing of "a faithful, kind, and intelligent animal."

Notes and References

  1. "The Policeman's Dog" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Mar/1870).
  2. Unfortunately this meant feeding him a strong poison.