May / June 2023 • TulsaPets 35 LAYING DOWN THE LAW Animals Spark Unusual Regulations by Kelsey Warren-Bryant L aws and regulations pertaining to animals are designed to protect ani- mals and people from harm, but you undoubtedly might have also heard of some rather strange laws that exist in many states. “No whaling allowed” is a popularly cited one in Oklahoma, which is pretty odd con- sidering that the state is a long drive from the nearest ocean. Many claims of laws pertaining to ani- mals in Oklahoma are scattered across the Internet, but few come with references to what is or was actually written in law books. What laws that we hear about are actually true down to the last letter? Which laws are exaggerated, and what laws are just made up entirely? Laws That Exist Today These are real, bona fide laws in at least some locations in Oklahoma. If your pet is run over by a vehicle, you have to pay up. In Bartlesville, if your pet gets into the road and is fatally struck by a car, you are responsible for paying for its disposal. In many instances, a city or town will cover the disposal of an animal rather than tracking down and billing the owner, so this might be unique to Bartlesville. You can see this law in section 3-6 of the Bartlesville code of ordinances. Only two dogs or cats in the house, please. In 2010, Bartlesville added a pet-control law restricting ownership of dogs and cats over the age of six months to only two per household per species. Although two dogs and two cats per house means a person can technically have four pets, it’s still quite a restriction. According to this law, three dogs and one cat would be a no-no, for example, and vice versa. Check out section 3-25 of the Bartlesville code to see this one. Don’t wrestle bears or trip horses. Don’t even think about hosting or attending an event with bear wrestling or horse tripping as the highlight or you will face as much as a year in the county jail or a $2,000 fine. Horse tripping is the act of tripping a horse with rope, wire, stick, or pole. Bear wres- tling is — you guessed it — using bears to wrestle each other. You can find this in Section 21-1700 of Oklahoma Law. Dog owners, avoid the concrete in Lawton. In Lawton, it is against the law to walk your dog on the concrete in a city park. This stipulation was added to the Lawton city code in 2012 and remains in effect. Dog owners were a bit confused by this one. Perhaps the purpose is is to avoid bike collisions. A Law That Is Interpreted Broadly This law circulating the Internet is based off existing law. Although the interpretation is technically true, some serious liberties have been taken. Save the whales! As humorous as this one is, it is highly taken out of context because whales and whaling are not referred to in the text. The official line states: “‘Threatened’ refers to any wildlife species or subspecies in the wild or in captivity that, although not presently threatened with extinction, are in such small num- bers throughout their range that they may become an endangered species within the foreseeable future or that they may be en- dangered if their environment deteriorates” (29-2-135, Oklahoma Statutes). According to this law, threatened animals are not to be hunted. Many species of whales make the threatened list. So when taken very literally, this could mean that whaling is illegal in Oklahoma. Was this law likely written with the intention of protecting whales? No. However, is it funny to say that whaling is illegal in Oklahoma? Absolutely! Rumored Laws That Probably Never Existed Although other so-called laws are infamous on the Internet, this humble writer could not find a single credible source to prove their existence. They might truly exist, but with few published references readily avail- able online. They might have existed once but were since scratched from the books, and the original sources are now lost. They could be just made up entirely. Many sources claim that one mayor in Oklahoma made it illegal for dogs to congregate in groups of three or more. One can’t help but wonder how the mayor planned to hold lawbreaking dogs to justice. Another rumored law in Oklahoma is that it is illegal to make ugly faces at dogs. What counts as an ugly face is anybody’s best guess. An oddly specific rumored law states that one should not stuff the hind legs of livestock or other animals into their boots. It’s worth noting that this is one of the most cited so-called laws circulating the Internet. In Tulsa, it is supposedly illegal to bring one’s pet elephant downtown. Presumably, you can bring your elephant anywhere else in the city, but downtown? That’s forbidden. So before you take animal laws to heart, check out what is truly illegal — and what isn’t. In Lawton, it is illegal for a dog to walk on pavement in a city park.