London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Kensington 1896

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Kensington Parish]

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inferred from the Annual Report, for 1894. of the Chief Veterinary
Officer to the Board of Agriculture, who states that with a view to the
prevention of Rabies "the slaughter of all ownerless dogs is of primary
importance. It is" (he adds) "the common street dog which has always
perpetuated rabies, not the dog which is cared for by its proprietor,
though such also suffer by being bitten by the stray street dog." In
the same report the importance of the application of the muzzle to
dogs is insisted on, as well as the necessity of measures for preventing
there-introduction of the disease from abroad and from Ireland, where
the disease is very rife.
'It may be mentioned that the Commissioner of Police has powers
for seizing ownerless and stray dogs, which he is now exercising
energetically, under section 18 of the Metropolitan Streets Act, 1867;
great numbers of suoh animals have recently been captured by the
police in the streets, and have been conveyed to the Dogs' Home at
Battersea, and there dealt with as the Act directs.
'Your Committee cannot conclude their report without an expression
of regret that there does not appear to be possessed by any public
authority the power to defray the expenses incurred by sending poor
persons to the Pasteur Institute, there being no similar institution in
this country where those bitten by rabid dogs can undergo the preventive
treatment which, according to all accounts, has been the means of
saving many valuable lives.
'They recommend, therefore, that the attention of the Local
Government Board and of the Local Authorities for the County of
London be called to this matter, with a view to such power being
conferred on the 'Local Authority' or the Sanitary Authority, or the
Poor Law Authority.'
The report was adopted, and by a further resolution a copy
of the report was ordered to be forwarded to the Local Government
Board, the Board of Agriculture, the London County
Council, the Commissioners of Sewers, and the several Vestries
and District Boards of the Metropolis. Shortly afterwards,
however, as above stated, the muzzling regulations were put in
operation by the Council, to whom a communication had been
addressed, and the intended communication was therefore not
forwarded to the other public bodies named; and even now
there is no means, other than private benevolence, whereby
persons bitten by rabid dogs, and in danger of death in one of
its most ghastly forms, can be sent abroad for preventive treatment;
for it need hardly be said that in this country there is
no place comparable with I'institut Pasteur at Paris.