Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

close-button
Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

The Dog Killer

Artist:
William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878)
Date:
1870s
Medium:
Oil on slate paper
Dimensions:
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 in. (15.6 x 23.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps, and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954
Accession Number:
54.90.513
Not on view
Walking New York’s streets, one risked being bitten by one of thousands of roaming dogs—some feral, others beloved pets—that lived off street refuse. This scene depicts the effects of one infamous attempt at dog population control. According to Catherine McNeur in "Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City," an 1811 law mandated a tax of three dollars per dog (about a week’s wages for an ordinary laborer) and the killing of unregistered canines (bounty hunters earned fifty cents per carcass). The summer of 1811 alone saw more than twenty-six hundred dogs slaughtered (pp.13-15). Many decried the killings as an economically prejudicial affront to common decency. This victim appears to have met his end on the doorstep of Daniel Davis, a boardinghouse owner at 359 Water Street.
Inscription: Grocery / Boarding / DAVIS; [on the back]: No 27 / The Dog Killer & Cart / in Water Betwen Rosavelt & Dover / New York / 1813 / W P Chappel No 27
Edward W. C. Arnold, New York, until died 1954
Related Objects

Bull's Head Tavern

Artist: William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878) Date: 1870s Medium: Oil on slate paper Accession: 54.90.493 On view in:Not on view

Buttermilk Pedlar

Artist: William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878) Date: 1870s Medium: Oil on slate paper Accession: 54.90.498 On view in:Not on view

Chimney Sweeps

Artist: William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878) Date: 1870s Medium: Oil on slate paper Accession: 54.90.505 On view in:Not on view

City Watchman

Artist: William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878) Date: 1870s Medium: Oil on slate paper Accession: 54.90.500 On view in:Not on view

Fighting a Fire

Artist: William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878) Date: 1870s Medium: Oil on slate paper Accession: 54.90.495 On view in:Not on view