Anyone who has a puppy must have heard the phrase: “the dog is man’s best friend” (and we add that of the woman, the child and everyone else too!). The authorship of the phrase is attributed to the American lawyer George Graham Vest (1830-1904), although he never said it. Not exactly like that.
Can you explain this right?
Sure, let’s go! It all started with a fight between two neighboring farmers in Warrensburg County, Missouri, United States, in 1869. Farmer Charles Burden had a foxhound named Old Drum, considered a natural hunter.
One day, Burden received a threat from his neighbor, Leonidas Hornsby: “If your dog shows up here behind my sheep, I’ll kill him.” Well, one day, Old Drum really turned up dead. Burden was devastated by the death of his companion and resolved to sue Hornsby.
What happened at the trial?
At the first trial, Burden ended up ridiculed. Where have you ever seen a trial over the death of a dog? For he appealed to the Court of Justice and, this time, he had at his side the lawyer George Graham Vest, who would later become a senator between 1879 and 1903.
At the trial on September 23, 1870, Vest gave an anthological speech about the faithfulness of dogs and their owners. It is said that he drew tears from the jurors. Judge Foster Wright fined and arrested Hornsby for the murder of Old Drum.
Was the sentence part of the speech?
Worse than not. But when commenting on Vest’s speech, people often sum it up like this: “What he said is that a dog is man’s best friend.” The story was told in 2000 in the movie “The Trial of Old Drum”.
The case became so famous in the United States that the dog was given a bronze statue in 1958 in front of the Warrensburg Courthouse.
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