The 10 weirdest laws in the world: how you get fined or go to jail for harmless things

There are a lot of weird laws around the world. We’ve rounded up some of the weirdest laws in the world, from not allowing a chicken to cross the road or not allowing a donkey to sleep in the bathroom, to never refusing a stranger to use your bathroom and more.

It is illegal to possess salmon under suspicious circumstances

Section 32 of the Salmon Act 1986 makes it an offence to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances. This section creates an offence in England and Wales for any person who receives or uses any salmon in circumstances where it is believed that the salmon has been caught illegally. The maximum penalty is two years imprisonment.

It is illegal to let your chickens cross the road in Quitman, Georgia

Simply put, the law requires owners to have their chickens under control at all times. The safety and sanctity of chickens must be ensured in Georgia because in Gainesville Georgia, you eat fried chicken with your bare hands. So keep your forks away from them. The law describes chicken as a “culinary delicacy sacred to its municipality.” Maybe that’s why chicken deserves a specific transportation safety law.

It’s illegal to change a light bulb if you’re not a licensed electrician in Victoria, Australia

Under the law in the state of Victoria, Australia, changing a light bulb without a valid license was against the law. Otherwise, the fine was ten Australian dollars. However, a revision of the Electricity Safety Act in 1998 updated this law. A spokeswoman for Energy Safe Victoria said that, “while the Electricity Safety Act makes it illegal to carry out your own electrical work if you don’t have a licence, changing a light bulb and removing the plug from an outlet were specifically exempted from this requirement under the Order in Council G17”.

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It is a legal requirement to smile at all times except funerals or hospitals in Milan, Italy

What’s with the long face? In Milan, the law used to require you to smile. So said a city regulation from Austro-Hungarian times, which has never been repealed. Exemptions included funeral attendees, hospital workers or those at the bedside of a sick family member. For everyone else there was no excuse for being upset, the alternative being a fine.

It would have been illegal to flatten in a public place after 6 p.m. Thursday in Florida

A strange law, long forgotten, said it was illegal to flatten in Florida after 6:00 p.m. on a Thursday. It was never enforced in Florida, but apparently it was written in the 1800s. It is not clear if or why this became law.

It’s against the law to have a donkey sleeping in a bathtub after 7 p.m. in Arizona, U.S.A.

In Arizona, a law was put into effect after a case of public menace in 1924. A merchant used to let his donkey sleep in a bathtub, and when the town was flooded, the donkey was carried nearly a mile down into the valley. The donkey survived, but the locals spent a long time rescuing the animal. This law was passed shortly afterwards.

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It’s illegal not to walk your dog at least three times a day in Turin, Italy

Dog owners in Turin, Italy will be fined up to 500 euros if they don’t walk their pets at least three times a day, according to a new city council law. Italy considers itself an animal-loving nation. To enforce the law, Turin police would rely heavily on the help of informants who notice cruel treatment by neighbours. Turin has the strictest animal protection rules in the country. They even ban the sale of goldfish in bags.

You have to let anyone use your toilet if they ask you to, in Scotland

If you need the toilet, you can knock on someone’s door and ask to use their bathroom, in Scotland – and by law, they can’t refuse you.

In Samoa, it’s illegal to forget your wife’s birthday

You’ll get more than the silent treatment from your wife if you forget her birthday in Samoa. It’s not clear how long your sentence would be, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to set yourself a reminder.

It is a legal requirement to own a burial plot before you die, in Sarpourenx, France

The mayor of Sarpourenx issued an edict forbidding people to die within the town limits unless they had previously purchased a plot in a local cemetery. People who broke this by dying without a burial place would be severely punished. However, what kind of punishment they would give the dead is still unclear.

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