Animals often appear in
archival records where you would least expect them to. An example of this is
municipal by-laws. Historically, due to rabies outbreaks spreading between
stray and feral dogs, by-laws were established in Oxford County to restrain and
regulate dogs running loose to prevent the endangerment of people and property.
Municipal by-laws were also established for the appointment of officers including
the “pound keeper” and “evaluator of sheep”. Many municipalities also passed a
“dog tax” by-law to protect poultry from being killed by loose dogs. For
example, in 1954 in West Zorra Township, a by-law was passed providing that if
any poultry were killed by a dog, a tax of fifty pounds (around $83) or more per
bird had to be paid by the owner of the dog. Historically, wild foxes appear to
have been an issue in Oxford County. We have a number of fox bounties in our
records from various townships throughout the county during a period when foxes
were considered pests. Hunters and farmers could hunt foxes and receive a
monetary bounty reward in return. This was meant to reduce the population of
foxes in the county.
Check out some of the
municipal by-laws, bounties, and taxes related to animals below.