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Crazy Dog Laws
Surprising legislation about our best friends
Wait a minute! We aren’t allowed to do what?

There are some crazy laws related to dogs throughout the United States. In most cases, it is not clear how they are enforced or why people believed there was a need for such a law. It is obvious, however, that dogs play a large enough role in our communities to warrant a lot of legislation about them.

In Illinois, it is against the law to give a dog whiskey. It is also a violation of the law to give a dog a lighted cigar. There is nothing on the books about whether the dog may light the cigar on his own.

International Falls, Minnesota passed a law making it illegal for a cat to chase a dog up a telephone pole. Hopefully, there is no victim blaming if a dog does get chased up a pole by a cat.

For a dog to mate in a legal manner in Ventura, California, a permit is required. Presumably, there are many violations of this law, as is often the case with forbidden behavior.

If you’d like to hold hands or display any other forms of public affection while walking a dog on a leash, you can’t do it in New Castle, Delaware without violating the law. I suppose this protects a dog from getting tangled up in a weird love triangle?

Dogs and cats in Barber, North Carolina are not allowed to fight. It certainly seems wise, but why is it illegal for these fights between species to occur? It’s possible that the motivation was preventing an underground world of fighting along the lines of cockfighting and dogfighting.

Animals in California, including dogs, are not allowed to mate within 500 yards of a church or a school. Apparently, these sexual escapades are something that we need to prevent those at church or at school from witnessing.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, dogs who bark after 6 pm are violating the law. Enforcing this one seems absurdly challenging!

In Galesburg, Illinois, there is a statute stating that no person may keep a smelly dog. There is quite a spectrum for canine odor, so it’s hard to imagine an exact legal definition of “smelly” for dogs.

If you have a French Poodle who you want to take to the opera, you will have to do so someplace other than in Chicago, because there is a law on the books prohibiting that. Apparently, someone opposes exposing these dogs to that particular cultural experience.

When I think of laws relating to dogs, my mind goes to basic issues like having them on leash or requirements such as buying a dog license. Apparently, I am not nearly as creative as many lawmakers when it comes to dog legislation.

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.

photo by Marcus Peaston/Flickr

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