Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

Most people have either a security system in place or defensive weapons with which to protect their domicile. For Leroy Rucker, a Pennsylvania homeowner, both of these concepts came neatly packaged in a furry, four-legged companion.

Rucker was relaxing at his Altoona home when he heard a knock at the door. Before he could even answer the door, a strange man burst into the home, allegedly planning to rob the place, WJAC-TV reports.

“I was just sitting in here watching TV with the dogs like I always do,” Rucker said.

Robert Burke Jr., 53, walked into Rucker’s home uninvited, where he soon met the homeowner’s beloved pit bull. The 9-year-old rescue dog, affectionately named Spuds, had been lovingly adopted into Rucker’s home, and he wasn’t about to let anyone hurt his family.

“He wasn’t going to just walk in my house uninvited. I don’t know you like that buddy. Spuds didn’t like it either,” Rucker said.

Rucker engaged Burke, trying to gain an advantage over the man. It was when he saw his beloved owner square up with the intruder that Spuds moved to join in the action.

“He was coming to hang out with dad. That’s all I can say. He sees me fighting, he wants to fight,” Rucker said.

Although Burke had no problems fighting Rucker, he wasn’t willing to take his chances going head-to-head with a protective pit bull. As soon as he saw that Spuds was ready to rumble, he instantly abandoned the skirmish and surrendered.

“The guy (Burke) listened. I mean, he listened better when the dog was right there present, you know what I mean,” said Rucker.

When police arrived, they were astounded to find Burke calmly submitting in the middle of the living room. Spuds had detained the home invader so that his owner could call the police. The faithful pooch then held Burke at bay for 20 minutes until officers arrived to arrest him.

Burke was treated for his injuries at a local hospital. He confessed to police that he had been drinking alcohol and using methamphetamine and marijuana just before the incident. Police say he burglarized another home and punched a woman in the face before heading to Rucker’s house. He was charged with burglary, criminal trespass, simple assault, and harassment. He was released on bond.

Spuds was already popular with the community, but now he’s a local celebrity. The neighborhood trash collectors explained that, while the dog is very protective of his home, he can tell the difference between a friendly visitor and someone with nefarious intent.

“I’m a garbageman. I deal with dogs everyday — five or six days a week — but spuds is very protective of his family. He knows good and bad, and that’s what dogs are supposed to do,” Steven Rightenour said.

While Leroy Rucker acknowledges that Spuds is the neighborhood defender, he is even more grateful that the dog has been such a loyal companion.

“For them, it’s protection. For me, it’s love,” Rucker said.

Spuds deserves all the praise he has received for protecting his loved ones. Luckily, the word is spreading of the dog’s heroic actions, which will likely keep any future criminals from choosing his home as a target.