updated 10/17/2005 4:13:36 PM ET 2005-10-17T20:13:36

Buster the German shepherd could have had a great career as a British police dog had it not been for one flaw: His complete lack of interest in fighting crime.

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The canine cop took early retirement after bosses at South Yorkshire Police noted his poor motivation — and a fondness for making friends with rowdy drunkards, his former handler said Monday.

Buster, who spent some six months on the beat, has been placed with a family in Sheffield, near this town in northern England, Police Constable David Stephenson said.

"He has a lack of drive and motivation when asked to do operational work," Stephenson told The Associated Press. "He's just a lovely pet."

Two-year-old Buster performed well at the start of his 14-week training program, but his work gradually deteriorated and the problem worsened once he started patrolling the streets, he said.

Buster’s priorities
On one occasion, Buster walked straight past a suspected criminal hiding in the garden of a house late at night and went off to cock his leg.

"I searched the garden myself and found the bloke. The dog had walked past the spot where I found him," Stephenson said. "You would have expected him to use his nose to locate him."

During a separate tracking operation, also in the early hours of the morning, Buster gave up while in mid-chase across a golf course. "He just downed tools," Stephenson said. "He just lay down and there was nothing we could do. He has got a very low drive for finding people."

‘No fire in his belly’
When patrolling Rotherham at pub closing times — when the streets are often crowded with drunken revelers — Buster wagged his tail when people came up to him and ate their fries, instead of deterring potential trouble makers, his former handler said.

"He just showed no interest in doing the job," Stephenson added. "He had no fire in his belly."

South Yorkshire Police employs some 50 German shepherds for tracking criminals, searching buildings and helping maintain public order at soccer matches and other events.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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