Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Dead Dog Creek

Dead Dog Creek

 

In 1868, Benjamin Ellis was a local dog catcher employed the by the Corporation of Adelaide (Adelaide Council). He was given carte blanche to shoot any unlicensed dog he found in the city boundaries and dispose of them as he saw fit.
Either lacking a good burial site, or just being plain lazy, Mr Ellis decided it was perfectly fine to dispose of the dogs bodies under a bridge in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
The little bridge, which crossed a little creek, was near the rear entrance of the gardens, and was often used by the public. The smell was overwhelming, and complaints began to come into the main office of the gardens. Doctor Schomburgk inspected the bridge and counted 13 dead dogs – he quickly wrote a letter of disgust to Mr Ellis – and the dead dogs soon ceased to be left in the gardens.

The following story was printed in Adelaide Observer April 11th 1868
From Dr. Schomburgk, stating that the person employed by the Corporation for killing dogs threw the carcases in the creek below the Botanic Garden, I and requesting that the nuisance might be removed.
In reply, Benjamin Ellis wrote, admitting that some dogs had been thrown there, but that since the complaint he had removed them.
His Worship said the Act distinctly required that the carcases should be buried. Mr. Sundry considered that Mr. Ellis was deserving of severe censure; but he apprehended he was employed by the Registrar of Dogs.
The Town Clerk, in reply to Mr. Bundey, said the man had received fees for the dogs upon making declaration that they were buried.
Mr. Bundey considered certainly some steps should be taken, and if the thing was brought before the Council again he would see that steps were taken to prosecute the party for obtaining money under false pretences.
His Worship pointed out that according to the Act the fee was only to be paid on a declaration being made such as to satisfy a Justice of the Peace. Then, if the man committed perjury, he could be prosecuted.
The Council resolved that no fees be paid without a certificate from a Justice of the Peace

Links:
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/158930409?searchTerm=%22benjamin%20ellis%22&searchLimits=l-state=South+Australia|||sortby=dateDesc