Loony Laws

wg-sig-currentI came across a fun little book the other day called “Loony Laws…That You Never Knew You Were Breaking”.  Of course I had to purchase it – how can you pass up a book with a title like that?  And the book did not disappoint.

The book, which has a copyright date of 1990, states that all the laws cited are “still around – unless they’ve been repealed indirectly by blanket or collective legislation.”

Here are just a sampling of the laws cited:

Some fall into the category of impossible to comply with.  For instance, Texas once passed a law that read “When two railroad trains meet at a crossing, each shall stop and neither shall proceed until the other has passed.”       2-trains

 

A few fall into the category of bad wording that plants them in the realm of the absurd.  For example, in Belvedere, California, there is an ordinance that states  “No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash.”  Just think about that one for a minute!

Some are just plain humorous.  In Berea Kentucky horses are prohibited from being out on the streets at night unless the equine has a bright red taillight attached to its rear end.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida has a similar ordinance, but has added that the animal must also have a horn attached.

A number of entries fall into the category of attempting to legislate animal behavior:

  • California passed a law that prohibits animals from mating publicly within fifteen hundred feet of any tavern, place of worship or school.  It carries a penalty of five hundred dollars and/or up to six months in prison.
  • In International Falls, Minnesota cats aren’t permitted to chase dogs up utility poles.
  • In Shawnee, Oklahoma, three or more dogs must obtain written permission to congregate together on private property.
  • Oak Park, Illinois prohibits roosters from crowing before six A.M.
  • In Norfolk Virginia, chickens are not allowed to lay eggs between the hours of 4 PM and 8 AM.

One wonders how any of these lawmakers expect to enforce these laws and just who gets penalized if the law is broken.

 

Then there are those that are obviously from a bygone era:

  • Both the state of Virginia and the city of Topeka, Kansas have laws outdoor-tubbanning the installation of bathtubs in the home.  Tubs can only be kept in the yard or in a public bathhouse erected for that specific purpose.

     

  • Omaha, Nebraska requires that every home within the city limits have a wooden hitching post in its front yard.
  • The state of Oregon and the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota prohibit the practice of wiping dishes – they must be left to drip dry after washing.
  • In Clarendon, Texas a lawyer can be disbarred if he refuses to accept farm produce in lieu of payment for his legal fees.
  • In Oxford, Ohio women are forbidden from taking off their clothing while standing in front of a man’s picture.

 

And finally you have the ones I call ‘head scratchers’, raising questions as to what brought the issue up to start with:girl-santa

  • In Minnesota it is illegal for a woman to try to impersonate Santa Claus on a city street.
  • Normal Oklahoma has a law that prohibits individuals from making ugly faces at a dog – penalties rang from fines to jail time.
  • Saco, Missouri has made it illegal for women to wear hats that “might frighten timid persons, children, or animals.”
  • In New Orleans it is against the law to kick a garbage can and in Lubbock, Texas you are forbidden to sleep in one. (Good thing Oscar the Grouch doesn’t live there!)
  • Tennessee prohibits the use of a lasso to catch fish
  • North Carolina has a law prohibiting the use of elephants to plow a cotton field.

    elephant-plow 

  • The above are just a sampling of the Looney Laws outlined in this book. 

      So have you ever run into any strange or outlandish laws you’d care to share?

     

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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author or email her at winnie@winniegriggs.com.

24 thoughts on “Loony Laws”

  1. Hmmm… wonder if someone actually tried to use an elephant to plow a cotton field. These are too funny. This posts reminds me of an old TV show called ‘This Is The Law’, where they showed funny clips of people doing ordinary things and the panel had to decide what silly law was being broken. Who came up with these gems anyway? Arresting dogs for not having their owners on a leash? My tailwagger would love that one.

  2. Winnie, What a hoot! did you know that in Alaska it is illegal to push a live moose out of a moving airplane? Or how about tying your elephant to a parking meter in Florida, don’t do it unless you put coins into the meter. Or how about this one from Pennsylvania? Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. If the horses appear skittish, the motorist must take his car apart, piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes.
    I just returned from there and I think I brtoke that law several times!

  3. Jennie – I never saw that TV show you mentioned but it sounds like it would have been really fun to watch 🙂

    Connie – Sounds like you really know your Loony Laws! And so funny about a law requiring you to to hide your car from a horse.

  4. Winnie, how hilarious! Some states really have some crazy laws. I’m a new resident in the Lubbock area. Guess I’d better mind my p’s and q’s when it comes to sleeping. Sure wouldn’t want to get a fine for sleeping in a trash can. LOL Darn it! That’s the place I REALLY want to sleep!

    Very interesting blog, my lady!

  5. Linda – Don’t you just love how absurd some of these are? And this post is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the number and variety of laws the book reports on. There are some much stranger ones listed that would really make your brows go up.

  6. Thanks for the laughs. You just have to wonder how some of these made it into a law – still scratching my head over why chickens can’t lay eggs between 4pm and 8am roflmao.

  7. I like the one about dogs having to get written permission — and the one about women being forbidden from wearing scary hats…

    Makes you wonder about politicans, doesn’t it?

  8. Hi Winnie,
    These are fantastic and to think our taxpayers dollars are going to make some of these laws!!

    I’d like Pam and Cheryl to put up pictures of their hitching posts!! 🙂

    The pic of the elephant plowing the fields is hilarious!

  9. Karen – LOL – I wonder who gets to decide if the hats are scary???

    Charlene – I had to combine two different pictures to get that one of the elephant plowing – can you believe there wasn’t already one out there

  10. You know, Winnie, sure it SOUNDS funny, but it you want to tie up your horse, you’ll be darned glad that hitching post is there.

    Wal-Mart, always ahead of their time, even has a handicapped hitching post available.

    🙂
    Great post. I now realize my gardening hat is officially a crime. I always suspected.

  11. Thank goodness we don’t have to wear hats in our
    church any more. There were a few back in the day
    that could have frightened small children and even
    caused pregnant women to go into labor!!

    Pat Cochran

  12. Fun post. Just got back from a week with only one day of internet. I’ve really missed this site. I can remember hearing of some weird laws a few years ago, but after 13 hours on the road, My mind isn’t functioning enough to even try to remember them.

  13. Winnie,
    in the paper a few days ago. A man got 6 mos in jail for yawning in public. Really , people yawn to get oxygen to the brain.

  14. Emma – Oh. My. Goodness. Arrested for yawning! There has got to be more to the story than that

    Patsy – Yes it’s a great little book, especially if you’re looking for something to make you grin.

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