100 Years Ago – February 12, 1909

Austin, Tex., Feb 12, 1909: Representative C.C. Highsmith, of Houston, asked the Texas House of Representatives to reconsider its refusal to pass a bill he had sponsored that would have made stealing a dog illegal in Texas, with the penalty being the same as that for stealing a hog. His intention was apparently to protect valuable bird dogs.

He could not, however, get the House to consider the bill seriously, although it considered it twice. He was asked if it had occurred to him that this bill would protect curs and other undesirable dogs, as well as bird hunters. “What’s the difference between a dawg and a hawg?” some members asked, and they answered: “You can eat a hawg, but a dawg eats you out of house and home.” The House killed the bill on Monday. They brought it back today by the reconsideration process, and then speedily, without consideration for Mr. Highsmith’s feelings or the welfare of the fine Houston dogs, again killed and buried the bill. Senator Vest’s tribute to the dog and all that sort of thing was brought into play, but it was no use. The House had gone on record to the effect that there is at least one living thing that is not entitled to legislative protection or attention.

In 1907, as Assistant City Attorney of Houston, Highsmith had convinced the city to enact fines for druggists selling cocaine other than by prescription.

[C.C. Highsmith – University of Texas Center for American History, Robert Runyon Collection]

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