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Whacky animal laws fill books

Original Publication Date: October 19, 2015
By C. Sue Furman, Ph.D.

There are some very old laws on the books of some cities and states that will surely make you chuckle. They will definitely make you wonder why the regulations were ever enacted.

Dogcatchers in Denver are required to notify stray dogs to be on the lookout. A written notice must be posted on a tree in the city park for three days before a homeless pup can be nabbed and taken to the pound. Dogs no doubt read the signs and find another place to hang out.

Sterling, Colo. requires feral or indoor/outdoor cats to put on a taillight before roaming the neighborhood. Helping a cat don a rear light could be a daunting chore, but finding one might be even more difficult. Cat taillights do not seem to be carried by any of the major pet stores. Cats do not have to wear taillights in International Falls, Minn., but they are definitely not permitted to chase dogs up telephone poles.

Several states have made provisions concerning camels. It is illegal to hunt them in Arizona. In Idaho you can be arrested if you fish while sitting on a camel, and driving your camel on the highway is prohibited in Nevada.

Illinois has a host of funky laws still on the books. In that state, it is against the law to give whiskey to a dog, to offer a dog a lighted cigar, to keep a smelly dog or to take a French Poodle to the opera.

It is illegal to educate dogs in Hartford, Conn.

Oklahoma apparently allows dogs to be well schooled, but in one town a person can be fined and/or jailed if he makes "ugly faces" at dogs.

Dogs in another Oklahoma town cannot socialize in groups of three or more without a permit signed by the mayor.

Whacky animal laws fill the books Whacky animal laws fill the books
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It is illegal for dogs to urinate on parking meters in Marysville, Ohio. A dog has probably never been indicted for this infringement since there are no parking meters in Marysville.

There are some interesting laws about horses. Don't let your horse sleep in the bathtub in Budd Creek, Md. unless accompanied by his rider, and don't ride him drunk in Colorado.

In Riverton, Wyo., a woman cannot ride a horse in a bathing suit unless she carries a club, is accompanied by two officers or weighs less than 90 pounds or more than 200 pounds.

In Massachusetts, your gorilla may sit with you in the front seat of your car but not the back seat.

Your pet lion cannot go to the movies with you in Maryland, and you are not permitted to hunt whales in Nebraska.

One wonders what prompted the enactment of these regulations. There are surely interesting stories buried in the history of the places that still carry such wacky animal laws on their books.

Sue Furman, Ph.D, has published two books and a DVD on canine massage and teaches classes in pet massage, acupressure, first aid and CPR. See her schedule and submit questions at