THE DOG ACT.
If the irresponsible Legislature of this colony think proper to make oppressive Laws, it is the duty of the people to resist them, which can be done most effectually by passive resistance. The colonists universally admit the necessity for a
Legislative enactment to suppress the useless in crease of dogs, and the keeping of those animals by persons who under the pretence of kangaroo hunting employed them in the destruction of sheep, subjecting thereby the flockmasters to in conceivable loss; but the interest of the flockmas- ter cannot be injured by permitting householders in the town to have a watch dog on the chain exempt from duty: it is so in England, and how ever much inclined people may be to submit to the necessary infliction of taxes similar to those imposed on the subject in England, they cannot sanction an excess of taxation here, not recog- nized there. The wool kings expunged the clause in the draft of the Dog Act which permitted every householder to keep a watch-dog on the chain free from tax, on the grounds that they, the wool kings, were willing to pay for their sheep-dogs, and that therefore the householders in the towns should pay for their watch-dogs; if by any rea- soning it could be made to appear that dogs kept on the chain in the town or Launceston could injure flocks of sheep in the country, we should say that householders were bound to submit quietly to the tax, but, as it is impossible for such a thing to occur, we think householders should not submit to the payment of a tax for their watch-dogs; it is repugnant to the law of England, and an oppressive tax which will fall harshly upon the industrious and needy portion of householders.
For dogs kept for pleasure no reasonable ob- jection can be made against a tax upon them— it is necessary for the public safety that the num ber of dogs running at large should be lessened, or that they should be kept under a proper con- troul; on the luxuries of the rich taxes should be raised, not on the necessities of the poor; dogs kept for pleasure are fair game for taxation — those kept to protect the homestead of house- holders of all classes are exempt from taxation in England and should here be sacred from the merciless hand of the tax gatherer. We recommend every householder who keeps a dog for the purpose of protecting his property, not to pay a tax for the animal; let this passive resistance be general, and if the police choose to lay informations against the owner, let them call in an auctioneer and sell for the tax and police costs, and if a bidder can be found for any pro-
perty seized upon for such a purpose, we think we do not know the people of Launceston. If this righteous resistance to an arbitrary tax, be general, the law will become a dead letter — it is for the inhabitants to oppose their solid phalanx to the executioners of an unjust, tyrannical and most oppressive tax.