Every State has a few laws that seem strange or curious to other states. These are usually minor, hyper-specific laws that were made many, many years ago and have very little effect on modern life. And yet, they are still on the book! Most of the time, these laws are not enforced, but it is still good to keep them in mind. Let’s learn about a few of the more strange and curious laws in Arizona.
Camels are definitely not native to the Sonoran Desert. However, it is easy to see how one would think they could be uniquely suited for this environment. At least, the United States Army believed so! In the mid-nineteenth century, they experimented with what they called the “United States Camel Corps.” In an operation out of Camp Verde, Texas, they tested the capabilities of camels for military use.
Although the animals proved to be both hardy and resilient, the animals never saw live action. The program was scrapped following the civil war, and the camels were all set free. Arizona, being Texas adjacent, thus made it illegal to hunt and kill camels. It is unclear if this law was ever applied. The last sighting of a live camel was made in 1891.
It is illegal for men and women over the age of 18 to have a missing tooth visible when smiling. This one only applies in Tombstone, Arizona and the reason seems clear. Tombstone must have been flooded with vagabonds sporting poor dental hygiene and they wanted to keep the riff raff out.
This law is much less silly than the camel hunting ordinance we just discussed. The saguaro cactus, revered by most Arizonians is a unique, beautiful, and iconic plant. It takes A saguaro can live for over 90 years and grow to be over 50 feet tall. Most saguaros won’t grow their first arm until they are 50-75 years old. Here in Arizona, it is illegal by state law to harm, destroy, or move a saguaro cactus. During construction, special permits must be acquired before saguaros can be moved.
Although the legal system remains a highly efficient, highly logical set of guidelines and principles that produce justice, there are a few laws that simply make no sense. Regardless, a reasonable thinker hopes to find a cause for every effect, and along that line of reasoning, a law that prohibits humans from dressing donkeys in human clothes has some sort of purpose.
This law applies only to Avondale, AZ. Any type of fortune telling, palmistry, or hypnotism is prohibited. Also illegal in Avondale is hypnotism unless performed by a licensed medical professional for legitimate medical reasons. Well, this law seems to have some sort of grounding. Perhaps gypsies were flocking to Avondale during the early years of Arizona. The easiest way to slow growth in a city is a surge of gypsies and nomads. And thus, this law may have been adopted to promote population growth in the cow town that is Avondale.
Anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from purchasing glue containing a solvent that may release toxic vapors or fumes. As absurd as prohibiting the sale of glue sounds, this actually serves a purpose. Sniffing the toxic vapors in glue can lead to intoxication. This bizarre release is known as huffing, sniffing or bagging by those individuals inclined to getting high on glue.
In the city of El Mirage, it is a misdemeanor infraction to hang a clothesline anywhere on a residential property. Fines begin at least $350 and multiple infractions can exceed thousands of dollars. For this odd law it’s tough to find a justification. Maybe in a time, pre HOA, people complained that hanging clothes in plain sight served as a disincentive to potential home buyers? Maybe people were stealing clothes directly off clothes lines, and thus, the law would be an effort to cut off crime right at the source? But the previous two questions are mere conjecture. The law doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
One peculiar yet noteworthy law you’ll find in Arizona, specifically concerning swine care, is the prohibition of feeding garbage to a pig without legal authorization.
Getting your hands on this permit can be quite an unusual process but it’s part and parcel for some people. That being said, there’s a notable exception – household garbage can still be fed to pigs that are raised for personal use:
“A. No person shall feed garbage to swine without first obtaining a permit from the associate director. All permits shall be renewed during January of each year.
B. This article shall not apply to any person who feeds only his own household garbage to swine which are raised for his own use.”
In Goodyear, Arizona, it’s against the law to spit in public areas such as sidewalks or parks. If you’re caught doing this, you could be fined up to $2,500 or even serve six months in prison.
The main reason for enforcing this unusual rule is simple – it’s about promoting cleanliness and protecting public health.
You might find it surprising, but under Arizona law, animals – including horses and donkeys – are granted the same rights as motor vehicles when on public roads. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like!
Horse-drawn carriages for instance fall into the same category as cars or trucks so you’ll need to give them their rightful space while driving around.
Another peculiar regulation in this regard is a ban on spooking horses that are being ridden. This could be due to safety reasons since startling a horse can create unpredictable situations causing potential harm both for the rider and others nearby.
“A person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway and approaching a horse-drawn vehicle, a horse on which a person is riding or livestock being driven on the highway shall exercise reasonable precaution to prevent frightening and to safeguard the animals and to ensure the safety of persons riding or driving the animals. If the animals appear frightened, the person in control of the vehicle shall reduce its speed and if requested by signal or otherwise shall not proceed further toward the animals unless necessary to avoid accident or injury until the animals appear to be under control.”
In Arizona, it’s illegal to intentionally trip an equine for the purpose of entertainment or sport. This act is not taken lightly and is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you can expect a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours along with a fee amounting to $1,000.
The term ‘equine’ covers a range of animals including horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, and hinnies.
According to Arizona law, interference with crane games – those claw machines found in amusement arcades or recreational spots – is strictly prohibited:
“It is unlawful for a person to knowingly cause or commit the following actions:
A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.”
This law might seem absurd at first glance, but it’s essentially aimed to ensure fair play and prevent fraud.
The rule reinforces that rigging these machines for an even more difficult win is illegal. This means manufacturers or machine owners can’t tweak the mechanics making those stuffed animals or other prizes impossible grabs for you.
Surely a unique piece of legislation, this law emphasizes the cultural significance of certain accessories. The state of Arizona declared the Bolo tie as its official neckwear through an Act passed in 1971. Plenty of people across the state sport Bolo ties proudly, carrying forward a tangible representation of their history.
Certain hunting regulations in Arizona mandate that hunters should prevent any edible portion of a game bird, mammal, or fish from being wasted. This means harvested animals must be utilized properly and respectfully.
Another specific decree relates to the use of dogs within hunting scenarios. Except for bear and mountain lions, canines are not allowed to assist hunters in tracking down big game.
Arizona state law 13-3453 declares the creation, possession, or distribution of imitation cocaine – often created to deceive others into thinking it’s the actual drug – as a Class 6 felony. This is one of the most serious categories of offenses resulting in significant legal consequences.
Claiming ignorance or holding belief that you were indeed dealing with real cocaine does not serve as viable defense under any circumstance according to said law – even if it did, then you’d be guilty of dealing actual cocaine. Simply put, whether you believed it was real cocaine or not, it is against the law.
No one is permitted to ride their horse up the stairs of the courthouse in Prescott, Arizona. This one actually makes sense. We can’t have lawyers flaunting their mares before trial. Indeed, the sight of a man on a majestic horse could sway a jury.
Donkeys cannot sleep in bathtubs. Hard to make a conjecture about the logic behind this law.
Indeed, not every statue complies with Lady Justice’s virtues of reason and understanding. But, when an absurd law exists, courts will most likely interpret them with a reasonableness and you will not be charged for smiling without a tooth.
If you have questions about a personal injury or accident case, reach out to our Phoenix personal injury attorneys.