Law The Weirdest Laws In Small-Town America  

Donn Saylor
717 votes 103 voters 4.6k views 25 items

List Rules Vote 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 Many of these stretch back hundreds of years - they are typically outdated and rarely, if ever, enforced.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.

1 44 VOTES

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

Belhaven, NC: Your Number Two ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Weirdest Laws In Small-Town America
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.

40 4
Is this weird?
2 45 VOTES

Los Angeles, CA: No Dog-Mating Near Churches

Los Angeles, CA: No Dog-Mating... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Weirdest Laws In Small-Town America
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.

40 5
Is this weird?
3 33 VOTES

New York, NY: Jumping Off A Building Is Punishable By - Wait For It - Death

New York, NY: Jumping Off A Bu... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Weirdest Laws In Small-Town America
Photo: Emiliano Marin/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

When it comes to nonsensical laws, this one is near the top of the collection. In New York City, someone who jumps off a building can receive the death penalty - but only if they survive the jump. Many think the outdated law originally meant to discourage would-be jumpers from leaping. However, why would a double threat of death stop someone intent on jumping off a skyscraper?

30 3
Is this weird?
4 32 VOTES

Greene, NY: No Eating Peanuts And Walking Backwards At Concerts

Greene, NY: No Eating Peanuts ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Weirdest Laws In Small-Town America
Photo: NIAID/Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0

This one is a real head-scratcher. The city of Greene, NY, specifically bans eating peanuts while walking backward, but only during concerts. Little evidence exists to put this law into any context, but it's safe to assume lawmakers saw the discarded peanut shells and backward-walking as safety hazards. Why the ordinance only applies to concerts remains a mystery.

29 3
Is this weird?