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Beware of Dog


A would-be-bandit was reported to have met with a terrifying change of plans on this day in 1911 in Valley City, North Dakota. The man was thought to have been a stranger to the vicinity, merely passing through the area. He was reported to have been in the city for only a very short time, but it would not be farfetched to say that he would remember his stop in Valley City for a long time to come.

The man began his visit to the city by traveling to a residential area in the eastern part of town. Once there, the visitor began to evaluate the local homes, particularly the wealthier-looking residences. On this particular evening, it was in this drifter’s mind to break into a home, acquire several valuable possessions, and steal away from the city. He soon found a house that appeared to his liking and, after a short stakeout, proceeded to knock on the home’s front door. No one answered his knocking, nor could he hear any sounds from within the house. Believing that the owners were not at home, the bandit entered the home through the door, which he found to be unlocked. With all of this good luck, the thief undoubtedly believed that fortune was smiling on him that day, but what an unwelcome surprise he soon discovered in store for himself.

Upon entering the residence, the man turned back to close the door. When he turned from the doorway, he found himself face-to-face with a large, growling canine. The dog was less than happy to see the stranger in his domain and, needless to say, the bandit was also less than thrilled to be in the animal’s presence. The dog jumped at the man, and the bandit made a quick dash for a nearby open window. The man crashed through the window screen and landed head first in a large barrel of water. The force of the man’s jump threw the barrel to the ground, and the soaked thief rolled from the overturned barrel and took off at a run to make as much distance between himself and the city as possible. In the end, no objects were found to be missing from the house and, besides a broken window screen, there was no damage to the place. Obviously, the owners of the house felt that a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign was unnecessary by 1911 standards.



Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, August 4, 1911: p. 2.