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law, or even, according to some authorities, of an action of detinue or replevin, or a distress for rent, or which could make him responsible for the trespasses of his dog on the lands of other persons, as he would be for the trespisses of his cattle. And dogs have always been held by the American courts to be entitled to less legal regard and protection than more harmless and useful domestic animals.
“ The damages sought to be prevented by the dog laws of the commonwealth, as declared in the preambles to the earlier ones, are sudden assaults upon persons, worrying, wounding and killing of neat cattle, sheep and lambs, distressing evils from canine madness' and other injuries occasioned by dogs. These statutes, which have been the subject of repeated consideration and revision by the legislature, with a view of securing these objects, and of affording means for ascertaining the owners and making them liable for the mischievous acts of their dogs, have accordingly not only provided that any person might kill a dog assaulting him, or attacking cattle or sheep, out of its owner's enclosure; and that the owner should be responsible, in either single, double, or treble damages, for mischief committed by his dog; but have also declared that it should be lawful to kill any dog, as to which the requirements of law had not been complied with under circumstances which have varied in successive statutes. At first it was only any dog.found strolling out of the inclosure or immediate care of its owner,' after due notice to him that it was suspected of being dangerous or mischievous; then . not having a collar and certified' to the assessor; and, by later statutes, “any dog found going at large, not wearing a
1 Vin. Abr. Trespass Z; Replevin A; 2 Bla. Com. 193; 3 Bla. Com. 7; 4 Bla. Com. 234, 235; Milton v. Faudrye, Pop. 116; 8. c. nom. Millen v. Fawer, Bendl. 171; Mason o. Keeling, 1 Ld. Raym. 608; 8. c. 12 Mod. 336; Read 0. Edwards, 17 C. B. (N. 8.) 245; Regina v. Robinson, 8 Cox Crim. Cas. 115.
2 Putnam 0. Payne, 13 Johns. 312; Brown v. Carpenter, 26 Vt. 638; Woolf o. Chalker, 31 Conn. 121.
collar; ' • found and being without a collar ;' being without a collar; ' 'going at large, and not registered in the town clerk's office, or the tax on which had not been paid ;' 'going at large and not licensed and collared ;' or, finally, ali dogs, not licensed and collared, as required by statute, • whenever and wherever found. For the last ten years the statutes have also declared it to be the duty of certain public officers to cause such dogs to be destroyed under the circumstances pointed out; and have given a remedy against the town or country for any injury done by dogs to other domestic animals.
6. These statutes have been administered by the courts according to the fair construction of their terms, and without a doubt of their constitutionality. Under the statute of 1812, chapter 146, which required the owner or keeper of any dog to put a collar about its neck, to be constantly worn, with the name and residence of the owner marked thereon, and declared it to be lawful to kill any dog · found and being without a collar as aforesaid' (omitting the qualifications of other statutes, of going at large' or 'out of the immediate care of its owner '), it was held that no action could be maintained for killing a dog without such a collar, out of his owner's inclosure, although under his immediate care ; Chief Justice Shaw saying: “We think it was the intention of the legislature not to give the owner of a dog a right to maintain an action for destroying him, unless he had, in fact, given that security to the public which the act required.'1 And a person who, instead of killing a dog being without a collar, converted him to his own use, was held liable to the owner in trover, because in the words of Chief Justice Shaw: • The object of the statute is, not to confer a benefit on an individual, but to rid society of a nuisance by killing the dog.'? Similiar statutes have been
1 Tower o. Tower, 18 Pick. 262. Cummings v. Perham, 1 Met. 555.
held in other States to be reasonable and constitutional regulations of police. The statute under which this defendant justifies provides that the mayor of cities and chairmen of selectmen of towns, shall within ten days from the first day of July, annually, 'issue a warrant to one or more police officers or constables, directing them to proceed forthwith either to kill or cause to be killed all dogs within their respective cities or towns, not licensed and collared according to the provisions of this act, and to enter complaint against the owners or keepers thereof; and any person may, and every police officer and constable shall, kill or cause to be killed all such dogs, whenever and wherever found.' The warrant here provided for, being general in its form, not founded on oath, nor containing any special designation of object, is not indeed a legal warrant of search and seizure; it is rather an appointment of the officer who is to be specially charged with the duty of executing the authority conferred by the statute. The statute makes it the duty of every police officer and constable to kill or caused to be killed, all dogs not licensed and collared according to its provisions, whenever and wherever found. There are no express restrictions of time or place, and no limitation, as in earlier statutes, to dogs going at large, or out of the owner's enclosure or his immediate care. Any restrictions upon the authority of the officer arise by implication, from regard to the sanctity of the dwelling house or the danger of a breach of the peace. But it is unnecessary in the present cases very closely to consider the extent of such restrictions, if any, which are to be. implied upon the power and duty of the officer to abate what the law has declared to be in substance and effect a public nuisance. The regulations imposed by the statute upon the ownership and keeping of dogs are reasonable and easy to be complied with. If any dog is an object of value or of affection to its owner, he has only to procure and record a license and put on a collar, in order to bring it under the protection of the law.
1 Morey v. Brown, 42 N. H. 373; Carter v. Dow, 16 Wis. 298. 2 Statutes 1867, ch. 130, $ 7.
“ It is agreed that neither of these plaintiffs had complied with the statute in these respects, and there is nothing in the facts agreed in either of the cases from which it can be inferred that the defendant committed any trespass upon the plaintiff's premises, or any act tending to a breach of the peace. Under the defendant's authority and duty to kill or cause to be killed all dogs not licensed and collared, • whenever and wherever found,' he had clearly a right peaceably to enter for that purpose, without permission, upon the close of the owner or keeper of such a dog, and there kill it.” 1
Regulations of this general character are to be found in very many, if not most, of the States. In Georgia and New Ilampshire, the constitutionality of laws has been sustained, which authorized the killing of all dogs without a collar. And it has frequently been held lawful for the
? State, as an encouragement for the rearing of sheep, to discourage the keeping of dogs by the requirement of a license fee for each dog 8 And, conceding the right of the State to require a license fee for the keeping of a dog, which is intended to operate as a check upon the keeping of dogs, the amount of the license is not open to judicial revision. It cannot be confined by judicial intervention to the mere expense of issuing the license. In order to operate as a restraint upon the keeping of dogs, the amount of the license must be large enough to make it burdensome to keep dogs, and, as has been fully explained in connection with the discussion of licenses in general," the imposition of such licenses, as a restraint upon the doing of some thing which inflicts or threatens to inflict injury on the public, is free from all constitutional objections.?
1 Blair v. Forehand, 100 Mass. 136 (1 Am. Rep. 94).
2 Morey v. Brown, 42 N. H. 373; Cranston o. Mayor of Augusta, 61 Ga. 572.
3 Mitchell 0. Williams, 27 Ind. 62; Carter v. Dow, 16 Wis. 298; Tenney v. Lenz, 16 Wis. 566; State v. Cornwall, 27 Ind. 62 ;Holts v. Roe, S. C. Ohio, 5 Ohio Law J. 605.
In many of the States compensation is given by statute to the owners of the sheep killed by dogs, and a summary proceeding is usually provided for recovering damages from the owner of the dog. But in order to be constitutional, the act must provide for a judicial examination of the wrong done and the damage suffered, with a full opportunity for the owner of the dog to be heard. In New Hampshire a statute of this kind was declared to be unconstitutional so far as it undertook to bind the owner of the dog by the amount of damages, which had been fixed by the selectmen of the town without giving him an opportunity to be heard on the question of damages.
§ 1416. Laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals. - From a scientific standpoint, perhaps the most curious phase of the exercise of police power is embodied in the laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals. These laws now prevail very generally throughout the United
i See ante, $ 101.
3 “We cannot assent to the position taken by appellant, that if the sum required for a license exceeds the expense of issuing, the act transcends the licensing power and imposes a tax. By such a theory the police power would be shorn of all its efficiency. The exercise of that power is based upon the idea that the business licensed or kind of property regulated, is liable to work mischief, and therefore needs restraints, which shall operate as a protection to the public. For this purpose the license money is required to be paid. But if it could not exceed the mere expense of issuing the license, its object would fail altogether. * We have no doubt, therefore, that the legislature may, in regulating any matter that is a proper subject of police power, impose such sums for licenses as will operate as partial restrictions upon the business, or upon the keeping of particular kinds of property.” Tenney v. Lenz, 16 Wis. 567. 3 East Kingston v. Towle, 48 N. H. 57 (2 Am. Rep. 170).