Episode 25: Dollop: The Two Dog Men

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If she was a kid, you could kick her vagina into space.



25: Henry Bergh
Henry Bergh

Kit Burns was just like Anthony Comstock, minus the gleeful ruining of people’s lives, the burned books, the suicides, and the continued obsession about other people’s genitals. But yeah, other than that, just like him, it’s uncanny.

Now, not to say Burns was an angel compared to Comstock. He found that he really, really enjoyed control and power, and that he felt most at home strutting around in a uniform. You know who else strutted around in a minor animal control uniform, throwing his power around?

BTK did. Yep.

Gangs Of New York, based in Herbert Ashbury’s book

25: Dead Rabbits v. Bowery Boys
Do you hear the people sing, sing the songs of angry men? Whoops, wrong barricade. Bowery Boys v. Dead Rabbits, the Dead Rabbits Riot, 1857

Five Points: The 19th Century New York City Neighborhood that Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World’s Most Notorious Slum * Tyler Anbinder = Best history book title maybe EVAR.

Kit’s friend, the boxer Yankee Sullivan (born James Ambrose), inspired “Fisticuffs” on their Brown Album.

The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America, Updated Edition *  Elliott J. Gorn

Monsters and Miracles: Henry Bergh’s America * Gary Kaskel

When Bergh became his crusade for the protection of animals (and the cessation of ratting and dog fights, such as in Burns’ establishment, which just burned his Dead Rabbits’ colored pantaloons), no state had any law protecting any rights of animals. By 1886, 39 states had adopted the laws that he had established in New York.

Horse ambulance, introduced by ASPCA in 1895.
Horse ambulance, introduced by ASPCA in 1895.

He went farther than just bugging businessmen like Burns and wooing politicians, however; he convinced the Episcopal Church to sanction one sermon per year on the sanctity of all God’s creatures. This triggered the next event, in 1874: a Methodist missionary, Etta Agnell Wheeler sought out Bergh. Thanks to Wheeler and Bergh:

A severely abused nine-year-old girl named Mary Ellen Wilson became the first child in America to be rescued from an abusive home. She had been beaten, burned, slashed with scissors, locked in a closet, and had never been outside of her tenement home in over 7 years.

–from the publisher’s description of The Mary Ellen Wilson Child Abuse Case and the Beginning of Children’s Rights in 19th Century America * Stephen Lazoritz and Eric A. Shelman

25: Mary Ellen Wilson, 1874

Mary McCormack Connolly, Wilson’s foster mother, was found guilty of felonious assault in 1874, the first person to be punished for hurting a child in the United States, and was sentenced to one  year of hard labor.

The American Humane Association has a page dedicated to Mary Ellen, and a page with the transcript of Wheeler’s testimony about Mary Ellen’s condition.

Bergh, Elbridge T. Gerry, and John D. Wright, founded the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) in 1875.

I can’t leave you with images of gang riots and abused children. Not cool. So, I searched my grey matter for something entertaining involving rodents.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH * Robert C. O’Brien (book) and The Secret of NIMH (animated movie made from book)
Okay, so it’s a little dark, lab rats and all that. But triumph! Escape! Self-reliance! No ratting dogs!
I do my best, y’all.

Bands from this episode:

  • Blood Pond
  • Ratter
  • Horse Hole
  • Burning Rat

Cultural references from this episode:

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