Strangest Laws in Oklahoma

Did you know that hotels in Oklahoma were once required by law to have sheets with an extra three feet of linen and that the Mayor of Oklahoma City is legally not allowed to go on strike?

These are some of the weird laws from the ‘Land of the Red Man’ that exist in the state and municipal rulebooks. Most of these laws had a meaning when they were written years ago and lawmakers meant them to protect someone or something when they were enacted. However, due to changing times, these laws remain neglected and nobody really cares about enforcing them.

Below is a collection of eight peculiar laws from Oklahoma that you probably have broken at one time.

1. Hotels must have an extra three feet of linen

In the early 1900s, there lived a man called William Henry Davis Murray. “Alfalfa Bill”, as most people called him, was a legendary Oklahoma lawmaker who became speaker of the house and governor of Oklahoma.

Nothing ticked Bill off more than going into a hotel and having short sheets on the bed. So in 1908, he had a law passed that required all hotels in the state to have sheets that covered the bed and had three extra feet of linen to cover the head and feet. The so-called “Nine-foot sheet”  law stayed in effect until Alfalfa Bill was laid to rest in 1956.

When starting a business in Oklahoma, you need to understand the rules that the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Oklahoma and how to find a great registered agent in Oklahoma can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.

2. If your pet is run over by a vehicle, you must pay for its disposal

In the city of Bartlesville, animals injured or killed on or along public streets or rights-of-way shall be presumed to be or having been running at large. The owner of the animal shall be liable for all expenses of treatment, impoundment, and of disposal of the carcass.

3. It’s illegal to trip a pall-bearer

According to this Oklahoma city municipal code, “No person shall willfully disturb, interrupt or disquiet any assemblage of people who have met for the purpose of any funeral, or obstruct or detain any person or persons engaged in carrying or accompanying any dead body of a human being to a place of burial.”

4. Adultery is prohibited in Oklahoma

Any person that shall be found guilty of the crime of adultery in the ‘Sooner State’, shall be guilty of a felony and will be punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for not more than five years or pay a fine not exceeding $500, or both.

5. The Mayor of Oklahoma city is not allowed to strike

In fact, not just the mayor but any city employee who shall engage in, cause, instigate, aid, or participate in any strike against the city, will be guilty of a Class A offense which is punishable by a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. Each day’s violation shall constitute a separate offense.

6. You are only allowed to own two adult pets of any type

In an effort to control the feral dog and cat population and thus stop the spread of rabies, the city of Bartlesville allows its residents to own a total of only two dogs and only two cats over the age of six months. However, if anyone can prove (by way of rabies certificates) that prior to August 1, 2010, they owned more than the prescribed number of pets, they shall be allowed to keep them without penalty.

7. Tattoos were illegal in Oklahoma

Prior to May 10, 2006, getting a tattoo was prohibited in the state for more than four decades. On this date, Gov. Brad Henry signed legislation that eliminated Oklahoma’s distinction as the only U.S. state to prohibit tattooing and established a regulatory system for tattoo artists and parlors.

8. Don’t trip the horses

According to Section 21-1700 of Oklahoma laws, it is illegal for any person to promote, engage in, or be employed at a bear wrestling exhibition or horse tripping event. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or both.

Sources

Justia – 2014 Oklahoma Statutes Title 21 Sec.21-1700
Justia – 2014 Oklahoma Title 21 Sec. 21-872
MuniCode – Bartlesville Code Sec. 3-6
MuniCode – Oklahoma City Code Sec. 30-84
MuniCode – Oklahoma City Sec. 30-56
MuniCode – Bartlesville Code Sec 3-25
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