On February 21, 1871, the U.S. Congress passed an act establishing the Board of Health of the District of Columbia. The board consisted of five individuals appointed by the U.S. president whose duty was to "declare what shall be deemed nuisances injurious to health and to provide for the removal thereof; to make and enforce regulations to prevent domestic animals from running at large in the cities of Washington and Georgetown; to prevent the sale of unwholesome food in said cities; and to perform such other duties as shall be imposed upon said Board by the Legislative Assembly.”
The Code of the Board of Health of the District of Columbia is an assemblage of ordinances and establishes of the Bureau of Sanitary Inspection. To staff this bureau, the board appointed Theo. F. Gatchell as sanitary inspector general, along with 12 inspectors, a poundmaster, and a remover of dead animals. The code was printed in 1872 by the Chronicle Publishing Company in Washington, DC.