Mayor Orders Crackdown on Animal Cruelty
July 3, 2009 | 4:00 am
July 3, 1899: Dog races continue at Agricultural Park despite the mayor's order of a police crackdown. According to testimony in an 1899 animal cruelty case brought by the ASCPA, these races consisted of two greyhounds chasing a California jackrabbit that was given a 60- to 80-yard head start. There were about 28 places along the race course where the rabbit could escape. If it didn't, it was usually caught and torn apart as the dogs fought over it. A man was employed to kill the rabbit, usually by crushing its skull, if the dogs didn't finish the job. If the rabbit escaped, it was kept for about a week and used as bait in another dog race.
In October 1899, a judge ruled that such races inflicted "unnecessary cruelty" on the jackrabbits. Coursing continued elsewhere in Los Angeles without interference from the police. In 1904, it was again ruled to be illegal.
Still, coursing continued in other jurisdictions. Here's a description of a race in Arcadia. Warning: This is gruesome.
April 4, 1905: The Times noted that female spectators were frequently the most bloodthirsty when it came to dogs mauling the rabbits.