Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

The frightening packs of dogs in old-time Phoenix

Like most people, I love dogs. I grew up during the era where the control of dogs was changing, leash laws being enforced, that sort of thing. When I was a little kid, dogs roamed all over my neighborhood, sometimes attacking children, and no one thought anything about it. Nowadays, of course, dogs are more carefully controlled, and most parks even have little plastic bags which people use to pick up their doggie's doo-doo, and throw it in the trash. And children being attacked by dogs nowadays isn't just laughed off, like it was when my little brother was viciously attacked by a neighbor's dog in the 1970s. And while I'm young enough to have adapted to the more modern way of thinking about dogs, some people just a little older than me find all of this fuss to be just ridiculous. It certainly was different in old-time Phoenix, when dogs roamed in packs.

Time-travel with me and let's walk around Phoenix when it only had dirt streets, let's say 1899. Of course there wouldn't be any cars yet, but there would be plenty of horses, and plenty of dogs, some of which were family pets that went home after roaming around, some of which were feral, roaming the streets looking for food, and behaving like any other type of canine pack animal, attacking other animals, and sometimes people, especially children.

Something that was done regularly, and which would horrify us modern dog-lovers, was the regular shooting of dogs on the city streets. Of course, there was a lot of shooting of animals in and around Phoenix, including jackrabbits, and coyotes. And if you're like me, growing up with images of cute little cartoon animals, this seems barbaric. But the people of Phoenix did it, and there was a reason - these animals were not only vicious, and dirty, they carried disease.

Thank you for visiting old-time Phoenix with me, and I'm do glad to be back in the 21st Century, with my dachshund, safe at home. I think I'll go give her a doggie treat!

Image at the top of this post: Looking east over 1st Avenue between Washington and Jefferson in 1899, Phoenix, Arizona.

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