10 of America's Most Bizarre Animal Laws Still on the Books

Every state has laws about animals. Some of those laws protect animals, others do the exact opposite, and some are just strange. Here at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, we've come across a lot of odd laws over the years, as the organization reviews legislation and opportunities to expand legal protections for animals.

Our attorneys reviewed local, state and federal statutes, ordinances and regulations and have compiled 10 of the weirdest animal laws around the country. From jumping frog competitions to llama encounters and dog grooming prohibitions, these laws are bound to confuse even the most law-abiding citizen.

1. Only bad hair days for dogs in Juneau.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625612","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"423","style":"width: 600px; height: 397px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

(credit: Rob Swatski/Flickr)

Thinking of treating your four-legged friend to a day of primping and pampering? In Juneau, Alaska, that’s a no-go. According to a local ordinance, no animal can “enter into any barber shops or establishments for the practice of hairdressing or beauty culture.”

2. Don't hurt Bigfoot.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625611","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"640","style":"width: 400px; height: 533px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]

Bigfoot's Bar in Clatsop, Oregon. (credit: Alex Butterfield/Flickr)

If Bigfoot is real, he's safe in Skamania County, Washington. The scenic Pacific Northwest county considers the Sasquatch, Yeti, Bigfoot or "Giant Hairy Ape" an endangered species, and slaying one is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in county jail, a $1,000 fine or both. Up until 1984, killing Sasquatch was a felony.

3. Frog competitors are off the menu.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625613","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"428","style":"width: 600px; height: 401px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

(credit: webhamster/Flickr)

In California you cannot have your jumping frog and eat it too. While any person may possess live frogs to use in frog-jumping competitions, if such a frog dies or is killed, the frog may not be eaten or used for any other purpose. Rest in peace, lil’ ribbit.

4. An unusual hunting buddy.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625614","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"480","style":"width: 600px; height: 450px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

(credit: Lindley Ashline/Flickr)

Domestic ferrets are not well-known for their hunting prowess—nor will they be in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia, where it’s illegal to hunt, catch, take, kill, injure or pursue a wild animal or wild bird with the use of a ferret.

5. Get a room, horses.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625616","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"411","style":"width: 600px; height: 385px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

(credit: Didier-Lg/Flickr)

In Ohio, no horse owner is allowed to let their stallion mate with a mare anywhere near a public street or alley. Curiously, the law only applies to male equines, so technically if a mare starts the rendezvous, it would be completely legal.

6. Stay off the tracks.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625617","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"662","style":"width: 600px; height: 397px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"1000"}}]]

(credit: keantian/Shutterstock)

It is illegal in Montana to guide an animal onto a railroad track with the intent to hurt the train—but surprisingly, no prohibition for injuring the animal. If the train is damaged, the person responsible may face a fine of up to $50,000, five years in jail or both.

7. No pet ferrets for Californians.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625618","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"428","style":"width: 600px; height: 401px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

(credit: Selbe Lynn/Flickr)

It doesn’t matter how cute they are napping in their tiny hammocks or sleeping in a furry pile, no one can have a pet ferret in California. It is the only non-island state to prohibit domestic ferrets.

8. Stand outside the fire—and let the birds do the same.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625621","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"396","style":"width: 600px; height: 371px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

The chestnut-sided warbler breeds in eastern North America and southern Canada. (credit: budgora/Flickr)

Most people run away from a fire. But in Virginia, some see blazes as ideal situations for hunting birds. It's illegal in the state "to kill or capture any wild bird or wild animal adjacent to any area while a field or forest fire is in progress."

9. Llama drama.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625622","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"427","style":"width: 600px; height: 400px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

credit: Selbe Lynn/Flickr)

Planning on being around llamas in Georgia? Do so at your own risk. In the Peach State, no one engaged in llama-related activities can make a claim against someone else “for injury, loss, damage, or death” resulting from interacting with the animals.

10. Bats aren’t safe in the belfry.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"625623","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"480","style":"width: 600px; height: 450px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"640"}}]]

Baby bat being nursed. (credit: Stef2230/Flickr)

Bats should do everything they can to steer clear of the insides or the tops of buildings in Texas. Those are the only two places where it is legal to hunt and kill a bat in the Lone Star state.

Do you know about a strange animal law in your state? Share it in the comments.


Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}