I recently came across some photographs that were newly uploaded to the Brooklyn Public Library catalog, and since they are pictures of animals, I had to write about them. On a lovely day in late June of 1935, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the ASPCA of Brooklyn hosted the Dog and Horse Parade. But before I go into all the fascinating details about the parade, I must give a brief account of the history of the ASPCA in Brooklyn.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals began as a small group of concerned citizens in New York City. In 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was incorporated by the legislature of the State of New York. The society had many honorary and ex-officio members such as Andrew Johnson (President of the United States) and Reuben Fenton (Governor of New York State). On April 19, 1866, the ASPCA's founder Henry Bergh delivered the passage of the first law ever erected in this country for the protection of animals: "Every person who shall, by his act or neglect, maliciously kill, maim, wound, injure, torture, or cruelly beat any horse, mule, cow, cattle, sheep, or other animal belonging to himself or another, shall upon conviction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor."
Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online and our morgue clipping files contain countless articles about animal abuse, more than any human would want to read. In 1867, a number of Brooklyn residents including such notables as Henry Ward Beecher and Henry Pierrepont established a Brooklyn branch of the ASPCA. The Brooklyn ASPCA went after the swill milk men, as you may remember from a previous post on distilleries by Joy. The society had authority to go after farmers who abused their animals and cruel dog catchers, and was instrumental in the abolition of the city pound, establishing shelters that would care for "vagrant" dogs and cats or if necesssary end their lives as humanely as possible.
Now, to the parade! Much like the Brooklyn Long Island Cat Club show, the Brooklyn Dog and Horse Parade was not for the "blue bloods" among pets, but was for the celebration of all types of companion animals. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in its article in mid-June 1935, the parade would be a "truly cosmopolitan animal parade."
The Eagle stated that Brooklyn had the largest dog population in the United States, and claimed that Brooklyn's dogs were the happiest in the world (not scientifically proven.) The parade paid homage not only to the animals entered, but also to the quality of care they enjoyed--the ASPCA after all, encourages responsible pet care.
500 dogs were expected at the parade as well as 252 horses--and, as we can see, at least one goat with a cart. Categories for prizes included happiest disposition, longest tail, longest ears, largest dog or smallest dog in the parade, to name just a few. Floats accommodated the oldest dogs and horses and members of the A.S.P.C.A. were on hand to make sure that the animals experienced no suffering or want of water, food, and care.
Companies even got in on the parade, including Sheffield Farms, a dairy (the goat is pulling a tiny Sheffield Farms cart) and Hittleman Goldenrod Brewery of Brooklyn, pictured below. The fire department had their Dalmations on hand while the Prospect Park Zoo entered a float carrying llamas and monkeys. The zoo also brought along several of their Siberian Huskies to participate.
At the end of the parade, many dogs had received prizes and so did some humans. Maybe Tara could write about them in her series on "Little Known Brooklyn Residents" if we find any more information about them! Both winners were milk cart drivers, one named John Malay who was 71 years old and the other John Nolan, 81, affectionately called "Pop" at Sheffield Farms Dairy. They drove their carts for over 43 and 68 years respectively in Brooklyn. Pop had delivered milk to homes during the Blizzard of 1888 and again during the Blizzard of 1933-1934. Each was given honors for his "humaneness to the succession of animals under his care." A nice note to end on, I think.