Press Release

Top 10 Weirdest Animal Laws on the Books

The Animal Legal Defense Fund shares the most unusual laws about animals from around the country

Every state has laws about animals. Some of those laws protect animals, others do the exact opposite and then some are just strange. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, has come across a lot of odd laws over the years—as the organization reviews legislation and opportunities to expand legal protections for animals. Attorneys review 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!
    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 the Bigfoot!
    If Bigfoot is real, he is safe in Skamania County, Washington. The scenic Northwestern 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 $1000 fine or both. Up until 1984, slaying Sasquatch was a felony.
  3. Frog competitors are off the menu.
    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.
    Domestic ferrets are not well-known for their hunting prowess—nor will they be in the wild and wonderful state. In West Virginia, 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!
    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!
    It is illegal in Montana to guide an animal onto a railroad track with the intent to injure 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.
    It doesn’t matter how cute they are lying 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.
    Most people run away from a fire but in Virginia, it would seem some people think of it as an ideal hunting condition. It is illegal in the state to kill or capture a wild bird anywhere near a field or forest ablaze.
  9. Llama drama.
    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.
    Bats should do everything they can to steer clear of the inside or the top 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.