Strangest Laws in the USA

The United States is a large and diverse country where different cities and states have been given some legal leeway to enact their own rules and laws. This makes sense as life is different in a city like Miami on the East Coast compared with San Jose on the West Coast.

However, this has led to the passage of some truly bizarre ordinances that are not really enforced, but no one has made an effort to reverse or rescind them. For instance, you cannot sell a pickle in Connecticut unless it bounces, or play a game of bingo for more than five hours in North Carolina!

We combed through the law books in a couple of states to find the strangest law that’s been passed in each one.

1. Arizona: No donkeys in bathtubs.

In Arizona, it’s illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub. A local dam broke in 1920 and the floodwaters whisked away a rancher’s donkey that had grown accustomed to sleeping in a bathtub. After working hard to rescue the animal, the town passed a law that prohibits donkeys from sleeping in the bathtub. It’s, however, okay for them to stand in one!

2. Georgia: No eating chicken with tableware.

In Gainesville, Georgia, It’s illegal to eat fried chicken with anything other than your hands. This 1968 ordinance was put in place as a public relations stunt to celebrate Gainesville as the poultry capital of the world. A 91-year old woman was arrested in 2009 for breaking this rule while celebrating her birthday at a local eatery.

3. Idaho: Cannibalism is outlawed.

Idaho is perhaps the only state in the Union that has an active ban on cannibalism. Any person who wilfully ingests the flesh or blood of a human is guilty of cannibalism and this is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding fourteen years.

4. Vermont: Honey, can I put my teeth on?

Days are long gone when men had to tell women what to wear. However, The Green Mountain State has an obscure law that dictates that women must get permission from their husbands if they want to get false teeth. This law, while unenforced, hasn’t yet been repealed.

5. Connecticut: The pickles must bounce

In 1948, two pickle packers named Sidney Sparer and Moses Dexler were arrested for selling pickles unfit for human consumption. Connecticut’s Food and Drug Commissioner at the time, Frederick Holcomb, proclaimed that a real pickle “should bounce” when dropped from the height of one foot, leading to a new state ordinance.

6. Indiana: Horse speed limit

If you own a horse in the Hoosier State, maybe you should look into attaching a speedometer to it, seriously. There is a law that says “No horse shall be driven or ridden on any street in the city at a speed in excess of ten (10) miles per hour and every horse shall be kept under control at all times by the person in charge thereof. Such person shall be subject to all applicable traffic regulations that apply to motor vehicles.”

7. Louisiana: Surprise pizzas are rude

You could be fined $500 or be imprisoned for not more than six months for sending a pizza delivery to someone’s house without their permission. Ordering food for someone without their knowledge is considered harassment.

8. Missouri: Don’t fight the bears

Anyone thinking about getting into fisticuffs with a black bear should think twice. Not only is it a life-threatening endeavor, but if you somehow survive, the full arm of the law will be after you. A law passed in 1998, due to reports on animal cruelty violations, outlawed this risky sport.

9. Pennsylvania: No psychics allowed

If you’re into fortune-telling or tarot card reading, you’ll have to go somewhere else if you want to get your palms read. The Keystone State has outlawed all types of psychic activity.

10. South Dakota: Don’t sleep in the cheese factory

It’s not the brightest idea to fall asleep at the wheel or work on heavy machinery. In the Mt.Rushmore State, you will be prosecuted under state law if you fall asleep in a cheese factory. However, if you fall asleep standing up, then you have nothing to worry about.

11. Philadelphia: Licensed bloggers

All businesses in Philadelphia are required to pay a one-time $300 license fee, or $50 annually, to operate in the city. Recently, the law was extended to  include bloggers. The city uses Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax records to enforce the regulation by matching federal tax payments to local reporting. To be on the safe side, you’ll need to seek the services of a Pennsylvania registered agent.

12. Milwaukee: Only the wealthy can close down

In order to close down your LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Milwaukee, you’ll need to present CPA certified paperwork and pay a $2 tax per $1000 worth of inventory remaining. This law has received some backlash from the business community in the state with some calling the ordinance a ‘failure tax

For more weird laws, please check out our ‘list of Strangest laws’ from every US state. Enjoy and remember to always stay on the straight and narrow but always keep it a little peculiar.


Pennsylvania General Assembly
Revisor of Missouri
Indianapolis Marion County-Code of Ordinances
Idaho Legislature – Idaho Statutes
USA Today
The Lawyer Portal

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