HOW important is your reputation? I suspect that’s a question Rupert Murdoch was asking himself this week.

There are perhaps a few areas in life in which notoriety can be helpful but mostly a black stain on the character is one that is difficult to erase.

You’ve heard the expression; give a dog a bad name...

Possibly that is the challenge facing Bugsy, the Staffordshire bull terrier featured on our front page yesterday.

Bugsy is a young, healthy and affectionate dog but faces destruction simply because he was abandoned and Worcestershire’s rescue centres are already full of similarly abandoned staffies.

I am no great dog lover but I feel for Bugsy.

Someone bought him or bred him and then decided they didn’t want him.

One of the problems now facing Bugsy may be that his breed has something of a bad name.

I once sat through a dangerous dog court case so I know – because the dog expert spelled it out quite clearly for everyone there – that staffies are lovely dogs who make ideal pets.

The only problem they face is that some people try to cross them to look more aggressive or to exaggerate certain traits to make them seem more like pit-bulls.

So perhaps readers who picked up our paper yesterday may have seen the picture of Bugsy behind bars and expected a very different story behind his imprisonment.

I wouldn’t blame them entirely.

Bugsy does not look cuddly.

Sadly, for him, he looks like the sort of dog you may expect to be involved in the rare – but very frightening – cases where people are mauled by dogs.

But that’s not his fault.

Pip Singleton, the county’s rehoming dog warden, says he is a lovely dog who needs attention but will lavish affection on his owners in return.

She also says all the dogs that go through the county’s pound are vetted extensively to see if they are suitable to be passed on to the public.

Interestingly, of the 36 staffies or cross breeds found on the streets within the past month, only three were put down.

Two were pit-bull types which, of course, are not allowed. Only one staffie was thought to have a dangerous temperament.

So the evidence seems to back them up.

Maybe then it is time to stop giving staffies a bad name.