Dog Catchers and Pounds: 1887 – 1889

Snipped from the kennel papers of the era, these brief mentions of what is now referred to as animal control give us a view to the origins and evolution of the practice. And while I in no way wish to defend the mass cruelty and killing inflicted upon stray dogs, I feel it’s important to remind readers that distemper, mange and rabies were all commonplace contagious diseases at the time. There were no vaccines or scientifically accepted treatments and rabies was fatal not just to dogs but to humans as well. Neutering of dogs was far from a routinely performed procedure and almost unheard of, therefore reproduction was presumably prevalent. Again, I am not justifying harm but providing some context with regard to the concerns, or at least the stated concerns, of public health officials and lawmakers at the time.

For further reading, take a look at how cities responded to an 1888 query about laws and protocols regarding stray dogs.

Forest and Stream, April 28, 1887
Forest and Stream, May 19, 1887
Forest and Stream, December 8, 1887
Forest and Stream, June 21, 1888
Forest and Stream, August 23, 1888
Forest and Stream, September 20, 1888
Forest and Stream, October 11, 1888
Forest and Stream, December 20, 1888
Forest and Stream, December 27, 1888
Forest and Stream, August 8, 1889
Forest and Stream, August 15, 1889

This one falls outside the specified dates but I’m including it because of my love for Ms. Bridget Cushman:

Philadelphia Inquirer August 31, 1872

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