Who Remembers the Infamous Dog Man of Portland, Maine?
David Koplow is from a Portland that no longer exists.
If you were in Portland in the late '70s into the mid-80s, you most certainly knew or knew of 'the Dog Man'. David had nine dogs that for the most part obeyed his every command and were never on a leash. David barked his commands and almost sounded like a dog himself. The Dog Man was loved by everyone, except the city of Portland. This picture is from 1976.
This is the caption that ran with this photo back in 1976:
David Koplow is a familiar sight around the city’s eastern end with his puppies and their mom and pop following closely at his heels. Not only are they trained to keep close to him on city streets, and wait for him, but they only eat kosher food, said Koplow’s friend Morris Blumenthal, who runs S. Blumenthal and Sons meat market at 77 Middle Street. Koplow, who lives on Wilson Street, stops at Blumenthal’s almost every morning to pick up bones and scraps for his family.
An article from 1983 in the UPI archives shows that he was constantly fighting tickets for everything from letting a dog run at large to keeping a vicious dog. Those who were familiar with David and his 'family' would disagree with all those charges. He always represented himself in court.
David Koplow eventually left Portland as he promised, if he lost any battle with the city. In an article remembering the Portland that once was, Jack Spinney remembers the tragic end of this story.
In a vendetta by the city that lasted for years Koplow was charged again and again with various offenses having to do with his canine companions, and successfully defended himself again and again until, finally, he didn’t. The dogs were taken and euthanized and a heartbroken Dog Man left the city.
It was a tragic end to a fond memory for many. If you ever want to relive some of the Portland that no longer exists except for in our memories and photos, revel in the work of Abraham A. Schechter, Archivist of the Portland Public Library. He has dedicated years to creating through negatives, a photographic archive for the Library, and future public access. Sometimes it's a nice and sad trip down memory lane.