A Dog’s Right to Live in 1890

In reviewing issues of The Fanciers’ Journal from 1890, I came across several blurbs speaking to the notion of a dog’s value and right to life. In order to understand the no kill movement of today, it is essential to understand the history of the relevant subjects.

Here, a brief mention of the gassing of more than 7000 dogs in New York City over the course of a year:

The dog catchers were reviled as men who brutalized the dogs they got hold of and seemed to relish their work. Asphyxiation was merely the horrible end to the suffering of the survivors.


In response to the trade paper Forest and Stream publishing a call for the American Kennel Club to take charge of the dogs rounded up by NYC dog catchers and sort out who is to live and who is to be killed by virtue of pedigree, “Brittle” writes in the August 9, 1890 issue of The Fanciers’ Journal, in part:


This sad story out of England:

I note that even in England of 1890, everyone seemed to understand that the place to have a dog killed was the “Refuge for Homeless Dogs” much in the same way we in the U.S. in more recent times rely upon names such as animal shelter, humane society, and society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. How far has society advanced in this respect?


Lastly, on a lighter note, “Brittle” goes off on the AKC in the August 23, 1890 issue of The Fanciers’ Journal with regard to the club’s snobbery in excluding dogs of unknown parentage when in fact, dog breeds and pedigrees were a very recent development. He pokes fun at some length at the AKC’s fear of “mongrels” polluting its registry, with this snippet being my favorite:

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