5 mins

More mad laws from around the world

Richard Happer, author of The Law Is An Ass, lists the ridiculous laws you should be aware of in your travels

Bad dogs

1. Unap‘peel’ing onions

Barbers in Waterloo, Nebraska, are forbidden from eating onions between 7am and 7pm, on penalty of a fine and having their shop closed. In Oregon, it is ministers about to deliver a sermon who can’t eat garlic or onions.

Any West Virginia kids who have a test they want to avoid should simply do a spot of woodland grazing on the way to school in the morning – local law states that you may not attend class with your breath smelling of ‘wild onions’.

2. Bonkers beer bylaws

In North Dakota, no bar can serve beer and pretzels at the same time. That might sound crazy, but in Texas it is illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time, while standing. And that same state has banned the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica because it explains how to make beer at home. In Nebraska, it is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup. Simple solution: just make it beer soup.

3. Just popping out for lunch

For anyone in need of letting off steam during the working day, move to New Mexico and find a job there. The reason? It’s legal for couples to have sex in a parked vehicle during their lunch break from work, so long as the car/van/campervan has its curtains drawn to stop strangers from stealing a glance inside.

Not such good news for those who favour two-wheeled means of transport, though.

4. Paws for thought

Should your animals be feeling amorous towards each other, you had better not be in Scotland’s Montrose. There, a bylaw specifically forbids pets and even livestock from mating within the town boundaries. Their owner faces 25 days in jail and a £15 fine for any such farmyard friskiness.

5. Moose misrule

Moose are troublemakers. That’s the only explanation for the slew of moose-related legislation in Alaska. In Fairbanks it is forbidden to give beer or wine or any other alcoholic beverage to a moose. Nor are moose allowed on the pavement, even if sober. And you are not allowed to look at a moose from an aeroplane, even if you’ve spotted one dancing gleefully on the pavement smashed out of its hairy moose skull.

6. Criminal critters

No creature is above the law. Not even animals in the US. In Illinois, critters can be sent to jail just the same as humans. In Chicago, a monkey was found guilty of shoplifting and had to pay the penalty: five days in jail. A similar spate of monkey business in South Bend, Indiana, saw a primate convicted for smoking a cigarette and sentenced to pay a fine of $25, plus the cost of the trial. Sources are unclear as to how these costs were paid by said monkey.

7. Barking mad bylaws

In Oklahoma, dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor if they want to congregate in groups of three or more on private property. Presumably this is to cut down on the number of kitsch artists painting them playing poker.

Ohio’s animal laws are much more sensible: there, a policeman may bite a dog to quiet him. Meanwhile if you lose your pet tiger in the state, you must notify the authorities within one hour. It’s only polite.

8. Mourning the sandwich

Make sure you’re full up on food before heading to a funeral in Massachusetts. In this East Coast state, mourners at a wake may eat no more than three sandwiches each. The days of the gluttonous mourner are well and truly numbered.

9. A tall tail

The people of former Yugoslavia once got so irate at the presence of Halley’s comet in the night sky that they outlawed it. The interplanetary ball of frozen rock and gas then showed admirable restraint for 74 years before losing all control and blazing a fiery trail across the Balkan skies once more. Unfortunately, there is no surviving record of who was sent to arrest it.

10. Not feeling very flush

You must plan your movements very carefully in Switzerland. Flushing the toilet after 10pm in an apartment building is illegal there. The government curiously considered noise pollution to be more anti-social than olfactory pollution.

Have you fallen foul of any strange laws in your travels? Tell us your tale in the comment section below.

The Law is an AssThis extract was taken from Richard Happer's book, The Law is An Ass. It is published by Punk Publishing and can be ordered on Amazon now.

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