Thursday, May 28, 2015

When death was advocated for dogs and cats in Ogden

Dogs and cats both had rather controversial times in early 20th Century Ogden.
Consider the following:
-“Dogs must keep off the grass or suffer death” was a July 14, 1909 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
“Owners of dogs, beware! All canines which persist in making the public parks and flower beds of the city romping grounds will suffer the penalty of death,” the story stated.
The Board of Park Commissioners made this decree to the dog tax collector, since there had been recent complaints.
“Any dog caught in this act of vandalism in the future will be shot on sight,” the story reported. “Owners of dogs which they value would do well to observe this order and see their dogs do not destroy city property in the future.”
This decree was said to apply also to any collared or licensed dogs, or even pedigreed canines.

-“Dogs are a source of danger to the public” was a Deb. 7, 1914 Standard headline. Citing recent dog attacks, it was also reported that unlicensed dogs are numerous in Ogden City and “a muzzled bulldog, instead of being the rule, according to law, is so rare as to be a curiosity.”
-“Urges killing of all cats. Friend of birds talks at meeting held in Eden was a March 13, 1927 Standard headline.
Dr. H.J. Paul of the University of Utah had proposed an extreme solution -- the extermination of all cats, who destroy 50 million birds nests every year in America.
Paul said that even well fed cats were believed to be destroying four to five bird nests each day. He reported that four states had already adopted laws against cats.
Protection of the sparrow, cowbird, magpie, wren, woodpecker, hawks and owls was especially urged by Paul. Such birds control dangerous insects and rodents.
-“Sewer gives up dogs and cats. Tragedy of two little families is disclosed when employees of the City Engineer’s Department are called to clear a clogged main” was a July 27, 1910 Standard headline.
“A revolting discovery” was made in the sewer pipe om Adams Avenue and 30th Street and on Child Avenue and 29th Street. A dead dog and its litter of dead young were found in the Adams Avenue pipe and a dead cat and half a dozen of her dead kittens were discovered in the Child Avenue pipe.
The animals had been thrown in through the manholes, apparently alive in a sack.
“Strenuous work was done in the nauseating stench and otherwise bad conditions, in clearing the pipes of the accumulation of filth of the past few days,” the report stated.
-Finally, a July 9, 1925 Standard report stated that Ogden City dog pound employees had recently traveled to Salt Lake to see how dogs were being disposed of at the S.L. pound.
Electricity, 110 volts, was being used there to dispose of viscous and unwanted animals. However, the death process took as long as 20 minutes.
The workers returned to Ogden, not sure they liked what they had witnessed.

(-Originally published on May 28-29, 2015, on-line and in print in the Ogden Standard Examiner by Lynn Arave.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:

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