Away With the Dogs – W.L. Creath, 8/24/1911

Away With the Dogs – W.L. Creath, 8/24/1911

I am exceedingly glad to note that my article headed “Menaces to Health.” that appeared in your valuable
paper on Sunday. July 16th, has had the effect of causing many of our fruit stands to keep covered their
fruit offered for sale, with clean netting as I suggested in that article. And I also note that quite a number of
grocery stores are now keeping their vegetables and fruit offered for sale, off of the filthy sidewalks, and
have these things now on benches, or boxes, high enough to be out of danger of filthy infection by passing
dogs, as I also suggested in that article. This is at it should be now and always. and It is a wonder to me
that this sensible and cleanly plan should have been delayed so long by the grocers and fruit dealers here,
as much sickness of various kinds could have been avoided in the past had this rule of cleanliness been
adopted by these grocers and fruit dealers sooner. However “tis better late than never,” and this move,
forced though it be perhaps. by the authorities and inspector, will help to vastly improve health conditions
in Tampa in the future, If these dealers will only continue to be as careful and cleanly always with their
produce and fruit offered for sale, as now. A close watch by the city Inspector, or inspectors, should be
kept on all persons, or stands, offering for sale food or drink of any kind to the public, and no let-up in
the good work now started should be allowed on countenanced in the future. Wholesomeness and
cleanliness of food, or drink, sold, or offered for sale, to the public is paramount to any open display
of fruit and vegetables on filthy sidewalks.

It is also much more important to the public than any contemplated improvements by the city now, or at
any future time, for the reason that these contemplated improvements concern the vast majority of the
people in Tampa only in a vague sort of way, whereas, everybody here eats fruit and vegetables, and
it is for this reason very necessary and Important for everybody’s good. that these articles of food are
clean and wholesome, and free from filthy contamination by dogs and cats, that abound all over this city
and run at large on the streets, and do just as they please, and as often as they please in passing by these
fine side-walk displays of vegetables-and fruit: therefor it is also very important that the authorities give
this matter more of their attention, and see that no let-up from the inspector, nor the dealers either, occur
in their watchfulness of the public’s welfare along this line. Mr. Editor, whilst it Is no doubt very gratifying to
all concerned, who have noticed the big improvement in cleanliness and care now taken of these things
offered for sale at the stores, it is also to be noted with regret, that several of our leading Franklin street
grocery stores, as well as a few others, in other portions of town, have not seen fit and proper to comply
with the inspector’s orders regarding this important matter, and are still displaying their fruit and vegetables
on flat, filthy side-walks the same as ever. Whether these storekeepers have actually been called upon
by the Inspector or not I do not know. or if they have, and do not consider his orders worth obeying, or
not. I also do not know; but I do know that as up-to-date pure food grocerymen, as many of them claim
to be, that they do know that fruit and vegetables displayed on flat sidewalks, subject to pollution and
even worse, by nervous dogs as they pass by, is not clean, pure nor wholesome, and they should not be
allowed to sell this filthy stuff to anybody, be they regular customer or transient. it makes no difference:
all should be protected from such imposition by these dealers.

It is just as easy, and also as proper, for these men to comply with the inspector’s order, as it is for the
others, who are also engaged in the same line of business, who have already done so, unless they have
some special reasons for not complying, and if they have any such. reasons they should be made known
to the public, why a few dealers are exempt from complying with sane, sanitary measures, pertaining to
the food they sell to customers, to the detriment of their health, and to the public in general, who patronize
them. The public in future should demand a guarantee from all fruit and vegetable dealers, that these things
offered for sale, are clean and free from dog and cat filth, and that they have not been displayed for sale on
filthy sidewalks: and if this reasonable guarantee is not, or cannot he given customers, they should absolutely
refuse to buy the filthy stuff. And the same guarantee should be demanded from those selling or offering for
sale, chickens or fowls of any kind, from coops on the sidewalks, as much filth and vermin is frequently “sold
to customers” with the fowls sold from filthy coops. Mr. Editor, refering to another phase or viewpoint of this
dog and pure food question. I would like to state that I believe it, wrong in principle, and in fact also, to license
a dog to run the streets day and night, to do and act on them just as it sees fit to do, and as dogs of all kinds
are both a nuisance on the streets, and sidewaiks too, (don’t forget that) as well as a menace to the health
and lives of people also, I do not believe it right and proper, or even legal, for the city to license that which it
a positive nuisance, as well as a menace to the health and lives of the people, and turn it loose on the
streets to do just as it pleases, and without hindrance as all dogs are now doing on our streets. And I believe
under such circumstances, that the city should be held legally responsible for all, or any, damage of any
kind, a licensed dog with a collar and tag on, should do. whilst on the streets.

If it is legal to license dogs to run the streets with collars awl tags on, to contaminate all the fruit and vegetables
he sees fit to, that is offered for sale from flat sidewalks, during his preambulation, it would also seem right
and legal to license cows, horses and mules, etc., to also run the streets and do as they please, at all hours of
the day or night. I see no reason why the dogs should be shown so much preference over all other animals,
as all are about equally as faithful In their sphere of usefulness, and service to man an the dogs are, but none,
Mr. Editor. are so dangerous to his welfare, and that of his family and their health and lives, as these Tampa
dogs are. A collar and a license tag on a dog’s neck cannot any more prevent him from going mad and biting
people, than would a collar and license tag on a cow, or horse. or mule. etc. prevent either of these kinds of
animals from kicking or pawing a person. And, again, no one will he so foolish, I am quite sure, as to claim
that a collar and license tag on a dog’s neck will prevent him from Infecting or contaminating fruit and vegetables
lying on flat sidewalks as he passes by. No, sir; It will not and cannot do this. as they have been doing this
very thing every day for-heaven knows how long. I don’t-with their collars and tags on their necks. No doubt
this sort of business has been going on ever since this dog tax law has been in existence. as he undoubtedly
feels and knows that he has more privileges with his collar and license tag on than people who walk the streets
have. Dog licenses were, I believe, originally intended to pay for dogs kept by their owners at their homes,
and were never intended to license dogs to run the streets s as at present. It is ridiculously absurd to license
a dog, or any other animal for that matter, to run the streets at will, that proves to be a big nuisance thereon,
and a danger to people also, as is now the case with dogs. The people of Tampa are paying a fearful price
for this absurdity at the expense of their health, and it ought to be stopped at once, and for always.

Tampa is no longer a rabbit hunting patch, and for this reason but very few dogs of the best grade and quality
ought to be fully sufficient for all absolute necessities, and for keeping thieving “coons” away from nice, clean,
fat chickens that abound around suburban homes. There are still plenty of filthy and sickly chickens in coops.
all over the city. for the “coons* to eat, as no decent white people, I am sure, could afford to, or would even
care to eat them. Mr. Editor. the dog question in Tampa and Thor City, is one of several very serious questions
of safety to all the people that now confronts them. and it is, entirely too important and serious to be treated
lightly and neglected in the future, as it. and several other serious matters concerning all the people, have
been in the past neglected. There are entirely too many dogs around here, and several thousand of them
are absolutely fit for nothing but killing. These same worthless dogs, both in Tampa and Thor city, are the
worst and main offenders about polluting fruit and vegetables on the sidewalks, as well as being always a
menace to the people from possible hydrophobia during these dog days, as they roam the streets in small
droves at their pleasure, etc. Common sense and common decency also demand that this condition of affairs
should not be allowed to exist in Tampa any longer, which now claims to be up to date in all things pertaining
to the welfare of all the people. There are thousands of cities and towns in these big United States of ours,
much smaller in size and in population than Tampa, from which Tampa could learn much about the dog
question, and the evils thereof. Dogs of all kinds in Tampa at present are in a sort of “dog heaven.”

Whether they have the collar and license tag on or not, makes little or no difference. All can do just as they
please on all the streets of Tampa and Thor City, and they seem absolutely safe in doing it too, just as often
as they please. Whether their travels and three-legged performances on the sidewalks pleases the people
or not, and whether or not these same sort of filthy stunts of theirs poison fruit and vegetables lying on flat
sidewalks, also makes no difference to them, as no one dare touch them, or interfere with them, so long
as they wear so proudly their collar and license tag, and they continue to do these same things day after
day without being molested, as It appears that no one has the legal right to stop these filthy performances
on the sidewalks. Mr. Editor, this is all wrong, and If no one has the legal right or authority to stop these
filthy doings of dogs on the side-walks and on the fruit and vegetables, that we of Tampa must buy and
eat, then I lay that the people-all of them-should rise up in their might and torotest loud and long until it
is stopped and see that it is, even if they must “swat the dog” to accomplish this. Mr. Editor. a few days
ago I read in your valuable paper an article copied from a pamphlet sent to you by a high medical authority,
in which was advised that the best time to kill a dog is before he bites you, and not wait until bitten by him
before killing him. I thought this a very sensible suggestion then, as I do now, and, taking this suggestion
of this high medical authority as a guide to go by. I think it would be well for our city fathers and all of those
in authority, as well as the public in general, to get busy on this very important matter, now that we are
in the midst of dog days. and get rid of as many dogs as possible before the cry of “mad dog!” becomes
prevalent around here; for then it may he too late to save the lives of those who may be bitten, as all are
not able to pay the price of treatment for hydrophobia. Mr. Editor, I also read !n your valuable paper a
few days ago, where a young man of our town was taking his last dose, or hypodermic, for a supposed
case of mad dog bite.

I sincerely hope that his treatment proves entirely successful in every respect; but, if he had done to that
dog.before he was bitten by it, what the high medical authority referred to advised to be done to dogs, he
would never have had to undergo the fearful annoyance and anxiety about his condition that he did, to say
nothing also of his physical suffering and expense attached to such cases, as well, also, the anxiety and
worry to his family and friends. One precious life is worth all the dogs of all kinds in Tampa and Thor City
put together, so what is the use of all these dogs anyhow? As there are several thousand too many of
these worthless dogs around here and in Thor City, no time should be lost, if much is to be accomplished
along this line, before it is too late. The one lone city dog catcher cannot possibly help the situation much
toward this end, as the work necessary to accomplish this muchly desired improvement in the dog situation
here is so enormously large, that no one man could hardly “make a dent in it.” It would require at least a
dozen active dog catchers to improve conditions along this line very materially and even with this number
there are plenty of dogs and work in that line to keep them all busy, every day until next Christmas. It is a
mighty big and hard Job to corral and destroy all these thousands of worthless dogs, but it ought and’ must
be done now. If the people are ever to expect any genuine relief from this dog nuisance, and danger, etc.,
attendant upon it. Thor city, with its thousands of worthless dogs, looks in a way.at times. like an aggregation
of hundreds of small dog farms, and in some portions of Tampa almost the same conditions prevail and
many of these same worthiems dogs oftentimes make headquarters on Franklin street, and can be seen
at most any time during the day (and night, too, for that matter) performing the filthy three-legged stunts
referred to in another part of this article, to the detriment of public health. I believe, Mr. Editor, the dog
question here in Tampa would help very much to regulate itself in due to course of time if nearly all the
present crop of worthless dogs were killed out now, and the owners of those left alive were heavily fined
everytime their dogs were found on the streets, whether they had a collar and tag on or not.

At home is the proper place for all dogs, and not in the streets. Those who own them and are such admirers
of dogs, as some people claim to be, can fondle and coddle them at home to their heart’s content, and it is
nobody’s business but their own, but when they run on the streets and do all kinds of dirty work on them, to
the disgust of the public, then I think it becomes everybody’s business to beware of them, and to protest against
such things, loud and long, until it is stopped by the authorities. Mr. Editor, some people here in Tampa seem
to think that dogs on our streets and sidewalks actually are entitled to more rights and priveleges thereon than
people have. This class of people are foolish and should be taught better, if they really don’t know better. Some
of them carry their pretended fondness and love for dogs to ridiculous extremes and make themselves the laughing
stock of sensible people, and to the disgust of their better nature. I have seen men. and women also, leadiiig
“would-be bull dogs” and “fake poodles,” on the streets with big chains and little chains too, attached to
collars and license tags on their dogship’s necks, and I have seen these same “chained beauties.” whilst
being proudly led by their owners, deliberately stop on corners and also in front of store doors, and get
on three legs and perform filthy stunts and whilst this was going on the sidewalks at that point would be
temporarily blocked, waiting on his dogsblp whilst performing his disgusting stunt. I have seen women leading
their poodles and other brands of dogs also, that performed the same kinds of stunts on the corners and
store doors, whilst being led, that had to be pulled back on their four feet and hustled away, so that people
could pass by without being infected. Men who lead their “chained friends” about like that, to be a nuisance
to people on the sidewalks and a menace to whatever and whoever it near them when their nervousness
overcomes them, ought to be heavily fined and sent to jail also. And the women guilty of such an absurd
and disgusting thing should be kept at home until they learn better sense and thus save themselves from
being unfavorably commented about by people on the street.

If they want to exercise their “chained pets” leading them around on their own premises ought to suffice
for all necessary purposes. Mr. Editor, I have seen modest ladies become mortified on the streets whilst
passing these same “chained eyesores” whilst they were performing as stated above, on our sidewalks.
Such disgusting spectacles should not be allowed to exist any longer here in Tampa, all because some
people have paid a dollar for a license tag for his dog, which is very often not worth the dollar. The ladies
are certainly entitled to more consideration and protection on the streets from such disgusting sights, than
they now receive, and by no means should filthy dogs on the streets be the cause of having their modesty
shocked whilst they are enjoying their rights and privileges on the streets. Away with all dogs on the streets
and give the ladies a clean right of way at all times, on our best and most popular thoroughfares, whenever
they see fit to come on it. Mr. Editor, I do not know or quite understand what makes these Tampa dogs so
nervous and filthy. They are certainly much worse here, in this respect, than in many other parts of the country.
Whether It is the peculiar breed of dogs that prevails around here or whether it is the climate here that affects
them so peculiarly I do not know, but one thing about this matter I do know, and so does every sensible
man and woman in Tampa also know it, and that is that dogs of all kinds belong at their homes and not
on the streets, to be a nuisance and menace to everybody who walks thereon. Mr. Editor, there are many
intelligent and decent men and modest women in Tampa. who have seen too much already of the Tampa
dogs, and the superior privileges they have so far enjoyed on our best streets. and It is unnecessary for
me to mention any more of the many dozens of filthy and ludicrous sights all of us of Tampa have seen
perpetrated daily by these same dogs. It is high time to stop it all and keep the dogs off the streets or
destroy them for the great good and benefit of all the people, and the sooner this is done the better it
will be for everybody. Who is there in Tampa, or anywhere else for that matter, who would like to sit himself
and his family down to a vegetable dinner or fruit lunch, that had been previously “dog infected” by
“chained (and also unchained) companions” and “friends” with collars and license tags on their necks,
as they passed by these same nice things(?) now on your table the day before, as they lay out upon
the sidewalk at some grocery store? Don’t all yell at once-Ouch! Take it away! Sell us clean and
wholesome fruit and vegetables, Mr. Merchant, or none at all. Do it now.

Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by Bill Arp

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