“Feed, Heat and Light for County Dogs….”

One location of Edna E. Thompson’s animal shelter, pound, and kennel in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 3002 South 1st West

If you were a lost dog picked up by the Dog Catcher in Salt Lake County in 1963, which would you rather be: a non-biting dog or a biting dog? Which would have been awarded the longest stay in the pound? The difference of $1.35 might have determined your future.

Before Salt Lake County’s Animal Services existed, the County had a dog catcher to gather in animals, but the County contracted out the operation of its dog pound. In the 1950s and 1960s, a private citizen named Edna E. Thompson ran an animal shelter, pound, and kennel to house all dogs collected by the dog catcher.

Ms. Thompson received a regular monthly payment (in 1963 it was $370.00), and also was given reimbursement for expenses at 15 cents per dog per day. A non-biting dog was only subsidized for up to 75 cents (which equates to a stay in the pound of 5 days). A biting dog, however, was given a slight reprieve – the County would pay up to $2.10 per dog, which works out to a stay of 14 days (perhaps to determine whether the dog had rabies?). Any dog exceeding the County subsidized stay would be housed at Ms. Thompson’s own expense.


Image from Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs, serial #16-4981

Agreement and all other information from the Salt Lake County Commission Minutes, 1959 – 1965

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