(This may seem unseemly, but Oakland is reputed to have dog fighting, and I just found a historical gem that I don't know where else to put.)

Historical references to Dog Fighting in Oakland


  • September 26

In September of 1895, men were arrested at the home of Ike Bottomley in Temescal for alleged dog fighting. The incident became exceptionally newsworthy when Mr Farno took his accusers back to court. Bottomley's "brindle bulldog" was taken to County Jail as evidence, and since the Marshals couldn't find enough money to satisfy Bottomley's bail, the "wounded cur" was held as collateral.1 Eventually a William Kennedy was fined $75 and Ike Bottomly (the host, whose occupation was tending bar) was charged $350, which led to most of the people charged "conclud[ing] that to plead guilty is a good financial turn."4


One Man Is Acquitted and Threatens to Sue for Damages.

Judge Clift's courtroom was filled with sporting men this morning, who were present to plead to charges of being present at a dog-fight last Sunday morning. The first case called was that of W. F. Farno, a dairyman of Fruitvale. Farno was able to prove that at the early hour when the arrests were made he was on his milk wagon eight miles from the scene of the fight. Mrs. [S.C] Sanford, secretary of the Humane Society, said she would consent to withdraw the charge, as she was convinced that some one else who had been present had given Farno's name. Farno says he will sue the society for fake imprisonment and defamation of character.

A score of others were present, but all pleaded not guilty and had their trials set two weeks ahead. Mrs. Sanford informed the court that she would have no objection to any of the defendants forfeiting bail. The resort of Ike Bottomley, where the dog-fight was held, was placed under the charge of United States officials to-day. A Deputy United States Marshal placed a marshal's lock upon the saloon, as Bottomley has defaulted on a United States liquor bond in the sum of $200.2


  • November 8. Another man, William Stevenson, was arrested for alleged dog fighting in Fruitvale later in 1895. Mrs Sanford and her husband were sued by Farno for false imprisonment. They counter-sued.3



1. "LATEST OAKLAND NEWS." The San Francisco Call: September 28, 1895.

2. "DOG-FIGHTERS IN COURT." San Francisco Daily Call: Sep 26, 1895.

3. "WILL BREAK THE MEYER TRUST: Heirs Object to a Tied-Up Estate." San Francisco Chronicle: November 8, 1895.

4. "HISTORY OF A DAY: Alameda County Happenings Told in Brief Chapters." San Francisco Call, October 20, 1895.