Vignette 264 – Dogs

In 1907, the streets of Mill Valley were overrun with unattached dogs, and only a small portion of them had licenses. Town authorities decided to enforce the law. Unless a license was on the dog it would be taken to the pound [animal shelter] at Reed and Ethel. The streets had to be cleared of stray canines. Owners of unlicensed dogs were advised to secure a license immediately.  A license good for one year cost one dollar. One week later, two collectors of canines arrived. Their reception was unsympathetic and indifferent as to how “cute” or “sweet” a dog might be. A dog that didn’t wear a little brass tag would be captured and taken to the pound.  Owners could claim their dogs by paying two dollars for a license. After six months in the pound a dog would be destroyed. Late one night, 23 performers in the pound treated residents of Homestead Valley and Tamalpais Park to a concert. Dogs of all sizes, shapes and degrees – basses, baritones, tenors, contraltos, altos and sopranos, joined in the chorus as well as neighborhood dogs. The next day, early morning commuters at the Locust station appeared haggard and worn out after a restless night.