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Welcome to Shrewsbury, NJ 1887 Dog Tax

The following appeared in the Red Bank Register, September 21, 1887:

The dog tax in Shrewsbury township this year will be lighter than it was in 1886, owing to the smaller number of domestic animals which have been killed by dogs. In olden times the owners of dogs were compelled to pay only for the sheep which had been killed. A few years ago a law was passed compelling the township to pay for all domestic animals which were killed by dogs, and the term "domestic animals" has been held to include poultry as well as sheep and calves. If the old law were in force Shrewsbury township would have very little dog tax to pay this year, for only about one-fourth of the "sheep bills" passed were for sheep, the others being for poultry and a calf.

The new law requires that when any person has had domestic animals killed by dogs he must get two reputable landowners to make affidavit to the amount of the loss, and all claims so sustained by affidavits must be allowed by the township committee.

The township committee met at the Globe hotel last Wednesday to audit and pass the sheep bills. A list of the dogs of the township, with the names of the owners, was hung up in the hotel for the inspection of the public. Anybody whose name is on the list who doesn't own a dog can have his name stricken off by making application to the proper authorities. Any owner of a dog whose name is omitted from the list and who is anxious to pay his share of the dog tax, can have his name put down by making application to the assessor. So far the assessor has not had any applications from the latter class.

All the town committeemen were present at the meeting on Wednesday, and so was Town Clerk Throckmorton, who transcribed in a big book the proceedings of the meeting. There was not much to do, and between times the officials leaned back in their chairs and talked politics. The merits and running qualities of the various candidates for sheriff were commented on, and there was much incidental talk concerning the coming election.

Orlando Warden was the first man to step up to the captain's office and asked to have his claim settled. He had 22 turkeys killed by dogs. Mr. Warden had got the value of turkeys down pretty fine, for his averaged exactly $1.09 1-11 each. he produced affidavits from two men showing that the turkeys were worth $24, and his bill was allowed. So was the bill of John Mack, of Tinton Falls, who had lost two sheep which he valued at $5 apiece. Five dollars apiece seemed to be the market price for sheep. W. W. Walling, who farms the Loggy Hole farm, owned by the late George Hance, brought in a bill for three sheep killed and sixteen wounded. He was allowed $5 apiece for the killed sheep and $1.50 for each of the wounded sheep.

Dr. Errick Parmley, of Oceanic, had had a calf killed, and he wanted $90 for it. He said the calf had cost him that much and as he brought the necessary papers to prove the amount of loss his claim was allowed. Adam Longstreet, of Red Bank, said he had nine chickens and three old hens killed by dogs and he wanted the township to pay for them. the chickens were invoiced at 87 1/2 cents apiece, and the old hens at 75 cents each. mr. Longstreet and all the other claimants were given orders on Collector Esek White, and they will get their money in the sweet by and by. Here's the record of the bills passed as it appears on the town clerk's Book:

    Sheep Bill for 1887


    Orland Warden, 22 turkeys ........................... $24.00
    John Mack, two sheep ................................ $10.00
    W. W. Walling, 3 sheep killed ....................... $15.00
    W. W. Walling, 16 sheep wounded ..................... $24.00
    Ehrick Parmley, 1 heifer ............................ $90.00
    Adam Longstreet, 9 chickens ......................... $ 7.87
    Adam Longstreet, 3 old hens ......................... $ 2.25

These bills foot up to $173.12. As there are 435 dogs in the township that would be 40 cents per dog. But Assessor Sickles and Collector White each get 12 cents per dog for assessing and collecting the tax, and besides the percentages which must be added to make up their fees, there are a good many owners of dogs who pay no taxes at all. This of course increases the sum which must be paid by every dog owner who does not shirk his taxes; so it is probable that instead of 40 cents dog tax, each owner of a dog will find that his tax bill calls for double that sum.

Here are the names of the men who own dogs in Shrewsbury township, and who will have to pay for Adam Longstreet's chickens and Dr. Parmley's calf unless they can shirk their tax. There are quite a good many owners of dogs in the township whose names will not be found on the list:


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