Lawyer Lloyd

posted January 14th, 2013 by
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 by Lloyd Benedict

Dear Lawyer Lloyd:

My question is not really one that would normally be asked of you; but I wanted to send you a question that is fun and test your animal law knowledge at the same time. Over the years, I have heard Oklahoma has some pretty stupid animal laws.

I have a list of some of the funniest ones, but they sound so silly that I am not even sure if they are real or made up laws. Can you myth bust these to see if they are really true laws in Oklahoma?

• It is illegal to make ugly faces at a dog.

• It is illegal to hunt whales in Oklahoma.

• It is illegal to wrestle bears.

• It is illegal to trip horses.

• It is illegal to carry fish in a fishbowl on a bus.

• It is illegal to intoxicate a fish.

Thanks for your articles; I am your biggest fan.

Tara Gardner, Tulsa

Dear Tara,

Thank you for your question and your loyal following. I agree; your question is fun and very challenging. I, too, have heard some of the laws you are talking about and wondered myself if there is any truth to them.

As with many Oklahoma laws, folks tend to hear them in three different ways. That is, there are the actual laws, and then there are what people think they mean (loose interpretation); then there are myths. In researching your question, I found them to fall in all three categories:

1. It is illegal to make ugly faces at a dog. Verdict: It is a loose interpretation. Oklahoma has a law (Title 21 § 649.4) that basically states it is unlawful to torment a service dog, so I can see how that the making an ugly face might fall into that category.

2. It is illegal to hunt whales in Oklahoma. Verdict: It is a myth. I had heard of this supposed law since I was a kid. The word “whale” is nowhere to be found in Oklahoma Statutes. It is possible it may be some type of an ordinance in a small town somewhere in Oklahoma. It is also possible this could have been a law that has long since been taken off the record.

3. It is illegal to wrestle bears and illegal to trip horses. Verdict: It is an actual law. Oklahoma Statute Title 21 § 1700 prohibits both of these acts and carries a heft penalty of up to jail for one year, or by a fine of not more than $2,000, or by both.

4. It is illegal to carry fish in a fishbowl on a bus. Verdict: It is a myth. However, I am certain this is probably a policy with Public Transportation programs. What is also interesting about this supposed law is that many folks claim their State has that same law, so this reinforces my belief that this is just an Internet hoax.

5. It is illegal to intoxicate a fish. Verdict: It is a myth. It possibly may fall under our animal cruelty laws, but most likely another hoax. However, I can see how that law may have started. It would be like an officer approaching a drunken fisherman and saying, “Sir it is illegal to be intoxicated while fishing,” and Bubba would say back, “But Offficer, II diddddn’t get that little fffffishy drunk…” and that’s how these things start.

Lawyer Lloyd

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