• Weird

The Weirdest Laws In Small-Town America

List RulesVote up the broken laws that need fixing.

Laws should keep us safe, but human silliness and petty bureaucracy often derail the best intentions. For instance, the strangest small-town laws in America prove regulations don't always have to make sense. From protecting elephants in the Deep South to regulating the height of weeds in the Rockies, America's most bizarre state laws confirm the nation's penchant for overreaching Big Brother-ness at the micro level.

Weird laws are nothing new in the United States. Many of these stretch back hundreds of years - they are typically outdated and rarely, if ever, enforced. But these odd laws are worthy of a good laugh.

  • 5

    Los Angeles, CA: No Dog-Mating Near Churches

    Photo: MarkScottAustinTX / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 2.0

    LA has a law on the books saying dogs cannot mate within 500 feet of a church. This law is not reserved only for Angeleno canines; several communities in California have this same ordinance. If someone catches dogs in flagrante delicto near a house of worship, the dogs' owners face a fine of up to $500 and/or six months in jail.

    Is this weird?
  • 6

    Texarkana, TX: Horses Must Have Taillights

    Photo: Tsaag Valren / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

    In Texarkana, there is a law stating horses must have functioning taillights when moving through the city at night. Breaking this law can result in a traffic citation. It's likely a safety issue, but how does one install lights on a horse?

    Is this weird?
  • 7

    Joliet, IL: Mispronouncing The Town's Name Is A Crime

    Photo: babymestizo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    Anyone with an unusual name will tell you mispronunciation can get annoying after a while. But Joliet, IL, took it to a whole new level when they criminalized mispronouncing the name. If you butcher the town's moniker by calling it "Jolly-ette," you could receive a misdemeanor and $5 fine.

    Oh, and it's "Joe-lee-ette."

    Is this weird?
  • 8

    Belhaven, NC: Your Number Two Could Cost You A Surcharge

    Photo: Ladarozan / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Belhaven, NC, sought to add a service charge for residents using the town's water supply. They started including a fee itemized as a "$2 per month, per stool" surcharge. The unusual wording led to confusion, and they've since updated the description to "$2 per toilet." Whew.

    Is this weird?