Police raid stops big dogfight

Hundreds of spectator from as far as Albany and Montreal gathered near a tavern east of Hamilton, Canada West, to witness a dogfight when the mayor and 20 police dashed up on sleighs to put a stop to things, as reported in the Hamilton Spectator, February 2, 1857.

It had been rumoured for a long time past that a great dog fight was about to come off near Hamilton, for $500 a side, but those interested had to keep the affair as secret as possible. It appears that a barn and shed near King Alfred’s Tavern, about 2-1/2 miles east of this city, had been thrown into one for the occasion and a regular pit constructed with seat, &c., like a regular amphitheater.

Yesterday afternoon the dogs, one brought to this city from Buffalo, and the other from Toronto, were taken to the spot and several hundreds of the fancy, from Buffalo, Albany, Montreal, Toronto, London &c., were gathered together. The price of admission to the expected battle was 50 cents, and about two hundred had paid their money to take their places, impatient to behold the fray—there being about as many more yet to come in when, lo! a most unexpected and unwelcomed sight forced itself on the astonished optics of canine admirers. Several sleighs—containing the Mayor, Captain Armstrong, and about twenty of the police force—dashed up to the scene, and of course, put a stop to the whole proceedings.

A more ill-favored, “hard” looking set than some of those gentry from a distance, could not well be imagined. They were evidently the off-scouring of humanity.

Another attempt was made later in the day, to get up the projected canine demonstration, and for that purpose large numbers wended their way in the direction of Burlington Heights. The commotion again excited the curiosity of the Police, and, as a matter of course, the fun was spoiled. Credit is certainly due to the County and Police Magistrates for their conduct in preventing the affair. Probably Hamilton will not be chosen for the champ de Bastille on any similar occasion for some time.

Unfamiliar Canadian history stories 041

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