2023.31 : Ljungaviken, Sweden

El Dorado County, California Circa 2020

Section 31104, any person may kill any dog in any of the following cases:

(a) The dog is found in the act of killing, wounding, or persistently pursuing or worrying livestock or poultry on land or premises which are not owned or possessed by the owner of the dog.

(b) The person has such proof as conclusively shows that the dog has been recently engaged in killing or wounding livestock or poultry on land or premises which are not owned or possessed by the dog’s owner.

No action, civil or criminal, shall be maintained for the killing of any such dog.

— Calif. Food & Agriculture Code § 31102

What would the Swedish 8,400 years ago think of this modern law? (Dog Burial With Grave Goods Unearthed.)

What would the Roman dog owners from 2,000 years ago think?.

The following text and photo courtesy of the British Museum.

“Quite a few tombstones for pet dogs survive from the Roman period, but none as elaborate and detailed as this. The poem is written in verse and as if spoken by Margarita, ‘Pearl’, herself, a dog from Gaul, which in antiquity were especially prized as both hunting dogs and pets – both aspects that are covered in the poem. The poem shows the importance Margarita played in her owner’s life through its quality and intellectual content, as several lines were plays on phrases from the most famous and respected Roman authors: ‘Gallia me genuit’ reminded readers of Vergil’s funerary epitaph ‘Mantua me genuit’, while other lines evoked Ovid’s The Art of Love (line 8 – Ovid, AA 2, 370) and The Art of Beauty (line 12 – Ovid, Medic. 8), two books well placed as inspiration to describe Margarita’s qualities and the loss felt at her death.”

Photo of teh dog Margarita's Grave Stone

Gaul gave me my birth and the pearl-oyster from the seas full of treasure my name, an honor fitting to my beauty. I was trained to run boldly through strange forests and to hunt out furry wild beasts in the hills never accustomed to be held by heavy chains nor endure cruel beatings on my snow-white body.

I used to lie on the soft lap of my master and mistress and knew to go to bed when tired on my spread mattress and I did not speak more than allowed as a dog, given a silent mouth.

No-one was scared by my barking but now I have been overcome by death from an ill-fated birth and earth has covered me beneath this small piece of marble.

— Margarita (‘Pearl’)

The etching of the tree in the bottom right corner truly touched my heart with its simple elegance, marking the profound loss. Then, my thoughts shift to the callous commercial interests that influenced the passage and display of the dog-killing law. This, in turn, leads me to contemplate the significant number of irresponsible dog owners, especially prevalent in this area. Once more, I catch myself murmuring what has regrettably become a familiar refrain in my life, ‘This is why we can’t have nice things.’

And now … know the photograph.

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