Dog Collar Thefts

A by-law which exists today, is the legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar with an ID tag. Accepted by most people in Scotland these days, this concept was fairly new in 1907. When the by-law was introduced, it actually caused some problems and issues for pet owners and one of the stories which took place in Blantyre is explored next.

In court at the end of April 1907, Frank Campbell of Forrest Place High Blantyre pled guilty to stealing a dog collar from the neck of a dog on the previous Saturday at Morrison’s Public House in High Blantyre.

He had been in the public house having a game of dominoes when he lifted a small fox terrier up to his knees and shortly after left the premises. The dog owner then discovered the collar missing and it later transpired Frank had tried to borrow a knife to remove the nameplate. The justices thought this was a mean theft and wanted to make an example of the new by-law being upheld. Frank was fined 25s or 20 days imprisonment.

In days before plastic, most dog collars were made of leather and could be expensive to buy. The early crimes associated with collars were generally twofold:

  1. People would steal dog collars to save having to buy one for their own pet. Roaming dogs in the streets were easy targets and generally the theft could easily be done without being caught.
  2. More maliciously, people would deliberately remove the collars of their enemies pets, leaving the animal to roam the street without a collar. Thus, the dog warden would pick up the animal with little chance of it ever being reunited with its proper owner.

In this modern age, dogs are now microchipped as pups to ensure they can always be identified with their human families.

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