December 7, 1914: “Sport,” the St. Louis County Sheriff’s office crime-fighting dog, dies of distemper

On this day in Duluth in 1914, “Sport,” a dog owned by St. Louis County Sheriff John Meining, died of distemper. The dog, according to the Duluth News Tribune, had been battling a “valiant fight” with the disease for months. Sport was “gentle as a lamb when off duty, [but] once he lowered his muzzle to the ground and got the scent of a wrongdoer…his attendant had difficulty holding him…until he ran his quarry to cover.” Sport, who had joined the sheriff’s office the previous April, was a “thoroughbred, blue-blooded, aristocratic bloodhound with a pedigree a yard long.” And he was already a veteran criminal sniffer, the newspaper promised, as he had already “trailed many criminals in his time and finally brought them to book for their misdeeds. Unless a criminal takes flight by aeroplane or by water, he has little chance of of eluding Sport. Once the dog’s lowered muzzle gets the scent, a fugitive from justice may as well hoist the flag of truce.” By June he was credited for helping to solve a murder in Virginia and had discovered the bodies of two missing brothers, Joseph and Frank Rozich, boys from New Duluth who went missing after they had launched a small boat on Sargent Creek hoping to catch some fish. But Sport wasn’t always successful in his efforts. A Virginia man suffering from typhoid wandered off while in a fever. Sport had picked up his trail and was tracking the man down until heavy rains washed away the scent. He also failed to find 14-year-old Linda Mattson, who missing from her home in Alice, near Hibbing—but that may not have been any fault of his own. Newspapers reported that the girl had been spotted near Chester Park in Duluth, a long, long way from the bloodhound’s nose.

 

Subscribe to This Day in Duluth!

You cannot copy content of this page