Capitol Hill Restoration Society

History of Animal Control in DC

Posted on June 9th, 2014

Local historian Hayden Wetzel  will talk about the history of the DC pound Saturday, June 14, at 2 p.m.  The talk will be held at at the Northeast library (330 7th St NE — Maryland Ave and 7th St NE). All are invited; no reservations needed.

Local historian Hayden Wetzel will describe the history of animal control and the city pound from the establishment of the District of Columbia, when citizens and police were expected to take stray animals off the streets, to the organization of a District pound in 1872, and into the twentieth century.

The early days of the pound, when angry crowds attacked the poundmen and the poundmaster carried a pistol, in time gave way to the more genteel opposition of the upper-class Dog-Owners Association and the Washington Cat Club. Wetzel will describe the Mad-Dog Scare of 1899, the Battle of Lincoln Park, the capture of President Grant’s cows, and — yes — how unredeemed animals were killed at the pound.

Wetzel is a retired federal worker with a long-standing love of the District and its historic places. Since retiring, he has researched and written numerous landmark nominations on the behalf of community organizations, and regularly authored studies of various aspects of Washington history. The present talk is based on a work in progress, “Mangy Curs and Stoned Horses: A History of Animal Control in the District of Columbia from the Beginnings to about 1930.”