For people and animals alike, laws are put into place for a reason: they help keep order, help keep us safe, help keep things regulated. Many of them are completely understandable and seem like common sense: for example, having your dog vaccinated for rabies and registered with your city, or keeping him on a leash in public, or picking up after him when he does his “business.” Some laws, however, seem a little strange (at least as they are written.) Here are a few we found:

1. In Oklahoma, you can be arrested for making strange faces at a dog.

What we want to know is, what if the dog made a strange face at you first? Would it be considered self-defense? And who determines if the face you make is ‘strange’?

2. It is illegal for dogs and cats to fight in North Carolina.

Good luck enforcing that one!

3. In Oklahoma, dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor in order to congregate in groups of three or more on private property.

So much for impromptu get-togethers!

4. Connecticut dogs bearing tattoos must be reported to the police.

Perhaps the authorities are worried they’d be a bad influence on impressionable young puppies? (Actually, we agree that tattooing a dog would be cruel. Hopefully there is a corresponding law making it illegal to tattoo a dog.)

5. In Zion, Illinois, it is illegal to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals.

Well, we’d certainly hope so!  Pets and any sort of tobacco products do NOT mix. Fact: tobacco is quite hazardous to dogs and cats when ingested, and can be fatal; if you suspect your pet has consumed any, call your vet ASAP. Being around tobacco smoke is not healthy for pets, either.

6. New Castle, Delaware, prohibits couples from public displays of affection (including hand-holding) while walking a dog on a leash.

Do you think it’s to keep the dog from feeling like a third wheel?  OK – maybe there are safety issues to consider, but can you imagine getting busted for holding hands or a smooch on the cheek while out with Fido?

7. In Chicago, Illinois, it is illegal to give a dog whiskey.

What we want to know is why just whiskey?  Dogs should NEVER be given ANY KIND of alcohol. It can be fatal, even in small amounts.

"Worried" squirrel. Photo by Tom Stovall via Flickr.8. In North Brook, Illinois, it’s illegal for a dog to bark for more than 15 minutes.

OK – well, from the neighbor’s perspective, 15 minutes of barking can seem like forever.  But even more importantly, with prolonged barking, even before 15 minutes, we hope someone would be checking to make sure  the dog is OK!

9. In Madison, Wisconsin, dogs are not allowed to “worry” squirrels.

So is it OK to chase squirrels as long as the squirrel isn’t worried? How exactly does one tell when a squirrel is worried?

10. In Chicago, Illinois, you may not take a French poodle to the opera?

So, what about your Golden Retriever, Chihuahua, or any other breed?

11. In Hartford, Connecticut, it is illegal to educate dogs.

Just what is meant by “educate” is not defined. Don’t worry, our great Connecticut DogWatch dealers will keep training your dogs!

12. In Little Rock, Arkansas, dogs may not bark after 6 p.m.

We are not sure about your dog, but most of the dogs we know don’t wear a watch.

13. Dogs in Wanessa, New Jersey, are not allowed to be heard “crying.”

No word on whether “whining” or “whimpering” is OK.

14. There was a 20-year period in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where all animals (dogs included) were explicitly prohibited from producing solid waste.

Seriously? All animals?  That’s just not natural.  Good thing it was repealed in 2002!

How about in your town?  Are there any laws we should know about before bringing our pets for a visit?


Pet Health Blog

Planet Dog: A Doglopedia, by Sandra Choron and Harry Choron

*Note: DogWatch made a concerted effort to verify the legitimacy of these laws, but was unable to verify all of them. If you live in one of the areas mentioned above and have any questions about a particular law, please contact your local city or state government.


Photo credits:

Top: Kunta Kun via Flickr. Image was cropped.

Bottom: Tom Stovall via Flickr.