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An Act to prevent Mischief from DOGS:
Whereas the Inhabitants of this City, and Persons resorting thither, are frequently in Danger of being wounded, and are daily annoyed by fierce Dogs, and others, in too great Numbers running at large within the Limits, thereof: For Remedy and Prevention of those Mischiefs, Be it ordained by the Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, and Common Council of the said City, in Common Hall assembled, and it hereby ordained by the Authority, of the fame, that no Person residing in the said City shall keep within, the Limits thereof any Dog, and none but a Housekeeper any dog; and that no such Housekeeper shall keep any Bull Dog or Mastiff, or any Dog partaking of either of those Species of Animals, otherwise than confined by a Chain within his own enclosed Ground; nor any Dog of another Kind without a Collar work about his Neck, whereon the initial Letters of the Owner’s Christian Name, the Name shall be marked; not more than two Dogs, with such Collars. And that every Person offending in either of those cares shall forfeit and pay the Sum of forty Shillings, to be sued for and recovered before the Court of Hustings of the said City, by Petition, to be processed within one Month after the Offence, in the Name of the Chamberlain thereof for the Time being, for the use of this Corporation.
And be it further ordained, that it shall and may be lawful for a Person to kill any such Bull, Mastiff, or Mongrel Dog, not confined as aforesaid, and any Dog running at large in the Streets without a Collar in the Day Time, or with a Collar in the Night Time, or belonging to a Resident who is not a Housekeeper; and that the Serjeant, Constable, and Watchmen of the said City, shall feverally take an Oath before the Mayor to kill such unqualified Dogs, and give Information to the Chamberlain of all Offenders against this Act.
And be it further ordained, that one Act made at a Court of Common Council held the 19th Day of March 1739, entitled an Act to refrain the keeping of Dogs in great Numbers, be repealed; and that this Act shall be published in the Virginia Gazette, and shall commence and be in Force immediately after the 21st Day of September in this Year 1772.
Passed in the Common Hall September 7, 1772
M. Davenport, Town Clerk.
Source: Colonial Williamsburg Digital Library, Virginia Gazette, Sept. 10, 1772.