The Journal of San Diego History
Fall 2002, Volume 48, Number 4
Gregg Hennessey, Editor
Michael Kelly, M.D., Guest Editor

Ordinance 180 ~ Ordinance 193 ~ Ordinance 258 ~ Ordinance 265


Ordinance of the City of San Diego, California


Approved February 20th, 1888.

An ordinance concerning the public health of the City of San Diego, California.

The Mayor and City Council of the City of San Diego, California, do ordain as follows:

Section 1. The Board of Health of the City of San Diego, California, shall have power to adopt such measures as will, in their judgment, best promote the health of said city and prevent the spread of disease; to enter into and examine, in the daytime, all vessels in port, buildings, cars, lots and places in said city; to prevent or forbid communication with infected families or houses, and by and with the consent of said Council, to establish a pest-house or hospital and provide the necessary supplies therefor, and generally to exercise a supervision over hospitals, prisons, school-houses and public buildings, so far as in their judgment may be necessary for the promotion of health.

Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of the Board of Health to recommend to the said Council, in writing, whenever they shall deem necessary, such sanitary measures as they may consider advisable, and to co-operate with them in carrying the same into effect; they shall appoint some practicing physician, a resident of said city, Health Officer, who shall, after such appointment shall have been approved and confirmed by said Council, be the Health Officer of said city during the pleasure of the Board of Health. The Health Officer may be removed from office at any time by said Board of Health, and, furthermore, they may employ, when deemed advisable, suitable persons to act as Health Inspectors at a salary not to exceed one hundred dollars per month; they shall prescribe the duties of Health Inspectors.

Sec. 3. The duties of the Health Officer shall be as follows:

1. It shall be the duty of the Health Officer, under the direction and control of the Board of Health, to enforce all laws, ordinances and regulations relating to causes of sickness, nuisances and sources of filth existing within said city.

2. He may, under direction of the Board of Health, remove any person who is not a resident of the city, and who is known to be infected with any dangerous, contagious or infectious disease to a pest-house, where such action shall be deemed necessary to prevent the spread of such disease, and when such removal can be made without danger to the life of such person.

3. Whenever a nuisance endangering, in the opinion of the Health Officer, the public health, shall be ascertained to exist on any premises, or in any house or other place in said city, he shall, with the approval of the Board of Health, notify, in writing, any person or persons having control or owning, or acting as agent for such premises, house or other place, to abate or remove such nuisance within a reasonable time, to be stated in such notice.

4. Upon the neglect or refusal of any owner, occupant or agent, or other person, having control of such house, or other place within said city to comply with such notice, the Health Officer may abate such nuisance, and the owner, agent, occupant or other person having control of such house or place, in a addition to the penalty provided by this ordinance, shall be liable to said city for the cost of such abatement, to be recovered in a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction within said city.

5. It shall be the duty of any member of said Board of Health, the Health Officer, or any public officer, when necessary to secure the public health, to enter upon the premises, or in the house, or other place of any person within the said city, to ascertain any nuisance that may there exist, to inspect drains, vaults, cellars, cesspools, water closets, privies, or sewers, or the yards of such premises, to examine into their condition, and when satisfied that apartments used for lodgings or other purposes are improperly constructed, or liable from over-crowding or filth to become dangerous to the public health, or to disseminate contagious or infectious disease, or are not properly provided with privies, water closets, or with sewers, drains or cesspools properly tapped, they or any of them shall serve a written notice upon the owner, or other person in charge of such premises, to remove the nuisance therein named, and if such owner, or other person in charge neglect to obey such notice, said Board or officer may put the same in proper order at the expense of the owner or other person charge in thereof.

Sec. 4. The Health Officer shall be ex-officio Quarantine Officer of the City of San Diego.

Sec. 5. The quarantine grounds of the Bay and Harbor of San Diego are at the anchorage of La Playa.

Sec. 6. Shipmasters bringing vessels into the Harbor of San Diego, and Masters, owners or consignees having vessels in the harbor which have on board any cases of Asiatic cholera, small-pox, yellow, typhus or ship fever must report the same in writing to the Quarantine Officer before landing any passengers, casting anchor or coming to any wharf, or as soon thereafter as they, or either of them, become aware of the existence of either of the diseases on board their vessels.

Sec. 7. No captain or any other officer in command of any vessel sailing under a register arriving at the port of San Diego, nor any owner, consignee, agent or other person having charge of such vessel must, under a penalty of not less than $100, nor more than $300, land or permit to be landed, any freight, passengers or other persons from such vessels until he has reported to the Quarantine Officer, presented his bill of health, and received a permit from that officer to land freight, passengers or other persons.

Sec. 8. Every pilot who conducts into the port of San Diego any vessel subject to quarantine, or examination by the Quarantine office, must—

First—Bring the vessel no nearer the city than allowed by law;

Second—Prevent any person from leaving and any communication being made with the vessel under his charge until the Quarantine Officer has boarded her and given the necessary orders and directions;

Third—Be vigilant in preventing any violation of the quarantine laws, and report without delay all such violations that come to his knowledge to the Quarantine Officer;

Fourth—Present the Master of the vessel with a printed copy of the quarantine laws, unless he has one;

Fifth—If the vessel is subject to quarantine, by reason of infection, place at the mast-head a small yellow flag.

Sec. 9. Every Master of a vessel subject to quarantine or visitation by the Quarantine Officer arriving at the port of San Diego who refuses or neglects either,

First, To proceed with and anchor his vessel at the place assigned for quarantine when legally directed so to do; or,

Second, To submit his vessel, cargo and passengers to the Quarantine Officer and furnish all necessary information to enable the officer to determine what quarantine or other regulations they ought respectively to be subject; or,

Third, To report all cases of disease and of deaths occurring on his vessel, and to comply with all the sanitary regulations of the bay and harbor, is liable in the sum of three hundred dollars for every such neglect or refusal.

Sec. 1O. All vessels arriving off the port of San Diego from ports which have been legally declared infected ports, and all vessels arriving from ports where there is prevailing at the time of their departure any contagious, infectious or pestilential diseases, or vessels with decaying cargoes, or which have unusually foul or offensive holds, are subject to quarantine, and must be by the Master, owner, pilot or consignee reported to the Quarantine Officer without delay. No such vessel must cross a right line drawn due west from the northwest point of the peninsula until the Quarantine Officer has boarded her and given the order required by law.

Sec. 11. The Quarantine Officer must board every vessel subject to quarantine or visitation by him immediately on her arrival, and make such examination and inspection of vessel, books, papers or cargo, or of persons on board, under oath, as he may judge expedient, and determine whether the vessels should be ordered to quarantine, and if so, the period of quarantine.

Sec. 12. No captain or other officer in command of any passenger-carrying vessel of more than one hundred and fifty tons burden, nor of any vessel of more than one hundred and fifty tons burden having passengers on board, nor any owner, consignee, agent or other person having charge of such vessel or vessels, must, under a penalty of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than three hundred dollars, land or permit to be landed any passenger from the vessel until he has presented his bill of health to the Quarantine Officer, and received a permit from the officer to land such passengers, except in such cases as the Quarantine Officer deems it safe to give the permit before seeing the bill of health.

Sec. 13. The following fees may be collected by the Quarantine Officer: For giving a permit to land freight or passengers, or both, from any sailing vessel of less than five hundred tons burden from any port in this State, two dollars and fifty cents; over five hundred and under one thousand tons burden, five dollars; each additional one thousand tons burden or fraction thereof, an additional two dollars and fifty cents. For steam vessels, propelled in whole or part by steam, of one thousand tons burden or less, five dollars, and two dollars and fifty cents for each additional one thousand tons burden or fraction thereof; but vessels not propelled in whole or in part by steam, sailing to and from any port or ports of the Pacific States, of the United States or Territories, and whaling vessels entering the harbor of San Diego are excepted from the provisions of this section.

Sec. 14. The Health Officer may enforce compulsory vaccination on passengers in infected ships, or coming from infected ports.

Sec. 15. The Quarantine Officer must keep in his office a book in which he must make an entry of all fees collected by him.

Sec. 16. Physicians and mid-wives must, on or before the fourth day of each month, make a return to the Health Officer of all births, deaths, and the number of still-born children occurring in their practice during the preceding month. In the absence of such attendance, the parents must make such report within thirty days after the birth of the child. Such returns must be made in accordance with rules adopted, and upon blanks furnished by the Health Officer.

Sec. 17. No person shall deposit in any cemetery or inter in the city, any human body without having first obtained and filed with the Health Officer certificate signed by a legally qualified physician or two reputable citizens, or a Coroner, setting forth as near as possible, the name, age, color, sex, place of birth, occupation, date, locality, and cause of death of the deceased, and obtain from such Health Officer a permit; nor shall any human body be removed disinterred without the permit of the Health Officer, or by order of the Coroner. Physicians, when deaths occur in their practice, must give the certificate herein mentioned. It shall also be the duty of the Health Officer to require all persons having in charge the digging of graves and burial of the dead, to see that the body of no human being, who has reached ten years of age, shall be interred in a grave less than six feet deep, or if under the age of ten years, a grave to be not less than five feet deep.

Sec. 18. Superintendents of cemeteries, within the borders of the City San Diego, must return to the Health Office on the fourth day of each month the names of all persons interred or deposited within their respective cemeteries for the preceding month.

Sec. 19. No superintendent of a cemetery can remove, or cause to be removed, disinter, or cause to be disinterred, any corpse that has been deposited in the cemetery without a permit from the Health Officer, or by order of the Coroner.

Sec. 20. The Health Officer or Quarantine Officer is empowered to administer oaths on business connected with that department.

Sec. 21. Whenever it shall be certified to the City Council by the Health Officer, or any member of the Board of Health, that any building or part thereof, is unfit for human habitation, by reason of its being so infected with disease as to be likely to cause sickness among the occupants, or by reason of its want of repairs, has become dangerous to life, said Council may issue an order and cause the same to be affixed conspicuously on the building, or part thereof, and to be personally served upon the owner, agent or lessee, if the same can be found in the city, requiring all persons therein to vacate such building for the reason to be stated therein as aforesaid, such building, or part thereof, shall, within ten days thereafter, be vacated, or within such shorter time, not less than twenty-four hours, as in said notice may be specified; but said Council, if it shall become satisfied that the danger from said house, or part thereof, has ceased to exist, may revoke said ordinance, and it shall thenceforward become inoperative.

Sec. 22. Every physician in the city shall report to the Health Officer, writing, every patient he shall have laboring under small-pox, varioloid, Asiatic cholera, diphtheria or scarlatina immediately thereafter, and report to the same officer every case of death from such disease immediately after it shall have occurred.

Sec. 23, Every house-holder in said city shall forthwith report, in writing to the Health Officer the name of any person boarding or inmate at his or her house whom he or she shall have reason to believe sick of cholera or small-pox or other contagious disease, and any deaths occurring at his or her house from such disease.

Sec. 24. The Health Officer must keep a record of all births, deaths and interments occurring in the City of San Diego. Such records, when filled, must be deposited in the office of the City Clerk and produced when required for public inspection.

Sec. 25. The Health Officer shall, immediately upon report of cases of scarlet fever or diphtheria, or other contagious disease being received by him, notify the Board of Education that it will be dangerous to the public health for children from that family to attend school until they get a certificate of safety from him. He shall also notify the officer in charge of the public library, so that it may refuse books to infected families.

Sec. 26. The Health Officer shall have entire charge of the city cemetery and shall appoint a superintendent, subject to the approval of the City Council.

Sec. 27. No person, Master, captain or conductor in charge of any boat, vessel, railroad car, or public or private conveyance, shall receive for transportation or shall transport the body of any person who has died within the limits of the City of San Diego without obtaining a permit for the same from the Health Officer, which permit shall accompany the body to its destination; and no person, master, captain or conductor, as aforesaid, shall bring into or transport through the said city the dead body of any person unless it be a with a certificate from some proper authority of the place whence it came, stating age, name, sex and cause of death, which certificate shall be filed at the health office; provided, that in no case shall the body of any person who died of a contagious disease be brought to the city within one year of the day of death.

Sec. 28. It shall be unlawful to disinter or exhume from a grave, vault, or other burial place, the body or remains of any deceased person, unless the person or persons so doing shall first obtain from the Health Officer a permit for said purpose; nor shall such body or remains disintered, exhumed or taken from any grave, vault, or other place of burial or deposit, be removed or transported in or through the streets of the city, unless the person or persons removing or transporting such body or remains shall first obtain from the Health Officer a permit in writing so to remove or transport such body or remains in and through such streets and highways.

Sec. 29. Permits to disinter or exhume the bodies or remains of deceased persons, as in the last section, may be granted; provided, the person applying therefor shall produce a certificate from the Coroner, the physician who attended such deceased person, or other physician in good standing cognizant of the facts, which certificate shall state the cause of death or disease of which the person died, and also the age and sex of the deceased; and provided further, that the body or remains of the deceased shall be enclosed in a metallic case or coffin, sealed in such a manner as to prevent, so far as practicable, any noxious or offensive odor or effluvia escaping therefrom, and that such case or coffin contains the body or remains of but one person, except where infant children of the same parent or parents, or parent and children, are contained in such case or coffin, and the permit shall contain the above conditions and the words: “Permit to remove and transport the body of _______, age ____, sex_____,” and the name, age and sex shall be written therein. The Health Officer upon granting such permit, shall require to be paid for such permit the sum of $5, to be kept as a separate fund by the Treasurer, and which shall be used in defraying expenses of and in respect to such permits, and for the inspecting of the metallic cases, coffins and inclosing boxes herein required.

Sec. 30. Nothing contained in sections 27 and 29 shall be taken to apply to the removal of the remains of deceased persons from one place of interment to another cemetery, or place of interment within the city; provided, that no permit shall be issued for the disinterment or removal of any body unless said body has been buried for two years.

Sec. 31. It shall be the duty of the Health Officer of said city when, in the opinion of the Board of Health, it shall be deemed necessary for the health of the city, to cause all and every train of cars, both passenger and freight, to be boarded before the same shall enter the populated part of said city, either by himself or some competent person appointed by him, and ascertain whether any person affected with small-pox, varioloid or other contagious disease be on said train, and if any such person so affected shall be found thereon, it shall be the duty of the Health Officer, or the person so appointed, to notify the Conductor or the person having charge of such train, or trains, thereof, and after such notice the Conductor or person having charge of said train, or trains, shall not enter the populated part of said city with said train, or any part thereof, until the permission of the Health Officer shall have been obtained.

Sec. 32. It shall be the duty of the Health Officer when, in his opinion, he deems it necessary for the health of the city, to notify the superintendent, or the person having charge of and control over any and all trains of cars, both passenger and freight, entering in or going out of said City of San Diego to stop, or cause all trains of cars, both passenger and freight, to stop at some convenient place (to be determined by the Health Officer) outside of the populated part of said city before entering the same, and to notify, or cause to be notified, by the posting of notices or otherwise, all Conductors or other persons having charge of trains of cars entering in or going out of said part of said city, to stop with said train or trains before entering said part of said city at the place so designated, so that the same may be examined to see whether the same contain persons affected with small-pox or varioloid or other contagious diseases.

Sec. 33. No person shall, without a permit from the Health Officer, carry or remove from one building to another, or from any railroad depot to any house, or through the public streets, or from any boat to the shore any person any contagious disease.

Sec. 34. Whenever a case of small-pox, varioloid or cholera is reported to the Health Officer it shall be his duty to immediately visit the premises where the person so affected resides or may be stopping, and the said Health Officer, upon the personal inspection of himself, shall immediately cause to be erected a yellow or quarantine flag in a conspicuous place on said premises, or to post upon the doorway of houses infected with small-pox, varioloid or cholera, a placard setting forth the fact, the same to remain during the continuance of the disease on said premises.

Sec. 35. No person shall remove a yellow or quarantine flag or placard any building where the said flag or placard shall have been placed by the Health Officer, without the permission of the said Health Officer.

Sec. 36. No person attending upon or otherwise coming in contact with any person affected with small-pox in such a manner or to such an extent as to render him liable to communicate the disease, shall go upon any public or in any way mingle with people not affected with the disease.

Sec. 37. Whenever a case of small-pox shall exist in any house or tenement, and for any reason the person affected shall not be removed to the small-pox hospital, it shall be the duty of the Health Officer, when directed, to place some competent person in charge of such premises, whose duty it shall be to see that the provisions of the preceding section are strictly observed, so long as may be deemed necessary for the public safety and until no danger from contact can reasonably be apprehended.

Sec. 38. Nothing contained in the two preceding sections shall be so construed as to apply to physicians.

Sec. 39. The Health Officer shall have power, during the prevalence of any epidemic, to fumigate and disinfect any premises which, in his judgment require disinfecting.

Sec. 40. No butchers’ offal, garbage nor any dead animal, nor any putrid or stinking animal or vegetable matter, shall be allowed to remain on the premises of any person, or to be thrown into any street or alley, place, or receiving basin, or in any standing water or excavation, or upon the grounds or premises of any person; nor shall any animal dying of disease, accident or old age, be skinned, nor shall any dead animal be thrown into any of the tide-waters, or reservoirs of water within the limits of this city.

Sec. 41. The rendering, heating, or steaming of any animal or vegetable product or substance generating noisome or unwholesome odors, or gaseous vapors, shall be conducted in a steam-tight kettle, tanks or boilers, and such method adopted as shall entirely condense, decompose, deodorize or destroy the odors, vapors or gaseous products; and no person shall be permitted to burn upon his premises, street, alley, or other place, any animal or vegetable substance which will create noisome or unwholesome odors.

Sec. 42. No person shall move or transport any beef, mutton, veal, other carcass of any animal used for food, throughout the streets of this city unless the same be removed or transported in wagons or carts, so constructed and covered as to protect it entirely from dust and dirt, and so that the same may not be exposed to view during the course of said transportation and it shall be unlawful for any person to allow the same to remain exposed upon any street or side-walk in said city.

Sec. 43. Every regular and special police officer having a regular beat shall be ex-officio Health Inspector, and in case said regular or special police officer shall observe at any time that any building, street, alley, court or lane in said city is in a condition offensive to the public health, he shall immediately make a report thereof to the Health Officer. Said ex-officio Health Inspector shall serve without pay. It shall be the duty of the Health Officer to report to the Chief of Police any neglect of the duties required in this section of ex-officio Health Inspectors.

Sec. 44. Every owner, lessee, tenant and occupant of any stable, stall, or apartment in which any horse, cattle or swine, or any other animal shall be kept, or of any other place in which manure or any liquid discharge of such animals shall collect or accumulate, shall cause such liquid or manure to be removed to some proper place, and shall at all times keep such stalls, stables and apartments, and the drainage yard and appurtenances thereof, in a cleanly and wholesome condition.

Sec. 45. No person shall expose or offer for sale or sell for human food any:

First—Blown, meger, diseased or bad meat, poultry or game; or,
Second—Unsound, diseased or unwholesome fish, fruit, vegetables or other market produce.

Sec. 46. No person shall bring within the city, expose or offer for sale, or sell,

First—Any sick or diseased animal; or,
Second—The flesh of any animal which, when killed, was sick or diseased, or that died a natural or accidental death.

Sec. 47. No person shall slaughter, expose for sale or sell in, or bring within the city for sale, for human food, any calf unless it is in a good healthy condition, and four weeks of age.

Sec. 48. It shall be unlawful for any person to offer or have for sale any unwholesome, watered or adulterated milk, or milk known as swill milk, or milk from cows or other animals that are fed on swill, garbage or other like substance, and the Health Officer is hereby empowered, whenever he may deem it necessary, to stop any person delivering milk and demand and take a sample of the milk, not less than one quart to be taken from any can he may designate, free of charge, for the purpose of inspecting and testing the quality thereof. If he finds any person selling or disposing of any impure milk he shall make complaint against such person.

Sec. 49. No person shall use any cart for the conveyance or removal of swill, garbage or filth, at any time, without a permit from the Board of Health or Health Officer, and unless the same be perfectly stanch, tight and closely covered with a cover, so as to wholly prevent leakage or smell.

Sec. 50. It shall be the duty of every person owning or managing any hotel or restaurant in this city to provide two or more galvanized or sheet iron boxes or tubs, at least sixteen inches in diameter and twenty inches in height, with close fitting covers and a handle on each side, one of which shall be kept in the kitchen of such hotel or restaurant, and shall be used as depository for all rubbish and offal and other waste matter, and when the same shall become full the covering shall be placed thereon and carried to one side and an empty one put in place thereof. And it shall be unlawful for such hotel or restaurant keeper to put such rubbish, offal or waste matter in any other place than in said tub or tubs.

Sec. 51. It shall be unlawful to keep or maintain a pig-pen or sty within the following parts, portions and limits of said city, to-wit: South of Upas street in Middletown and Horton’s addition; or within Carruther’s addition; Gardner’s, Taggart’s, Culverwell’s and Utt’s additions; Sherman’s addition, Mannasse & Schiller’s addition, New Town, Cleveland’s addition, Reed & Daley’s addition, Whitney’s addition, Reed & Hubbell’s addition, Land & Town Company’s addition.

Sec. 52. Every person violating any provision of this ordinance shall be fined in any sum not exceeding three hundred dollars, or to be imprisoned in the City Jail of San Diego County for not exceeding three months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Sec. 53. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage, approval and publication as required by law.

Sec. 54. All ordinances and parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

Passed, approved and ordered published by the City Council of the City of San Diego, State of California, this 14th day of February, A.D. 1888. J.A. Thomas, City Clerk. [seal]

I hereby approve the foregoing ordinance this 20th day of February, A.D. 1888.
W. J. Hunsaker, Mayor of the City of San Diego, California.