This week I looked into some strange and interesting laws and ordinances in the State of Wisconsin.
- Margarine is illegal?
No, I did not mean to type marijuana, I really did mean margarine. According to Wisconsin Statute 97.18. Section 97.18(4), “”The serving of colored oleomargarine or margarine at a public eating place as a substitute for table butter is prohibited unless it is ordered by the customer.” Additionally, Section 97.18(5) states that “The serving of oleomargarine or margarine to students, patients or inmates of any state institutions as a substitute for table butter is prohibited, except that such substitution may be ordered by the institution superintendent when necessary for the health of a specific patient or inmate, if directed by the physician in charge of the patient or inmate.” So, what exactly does this mean if you violate these laws? In Section 97.18(6), a person who violates this law may be fined up to $500 and spend 3 months imprisoned. For every subsequent offense, the individual can be fined up to $1,000 and imprisoned for up to a year. And to think, all this because of butter!
- Sorry kids, no more snowball fights
Growing up with Wisconsin winters, I have always enjoyed a good snowball fight with my friends. I think many people who grew up with snow can look back to and remember snowball fights. In Wausau, Wisconsin, children can say goodbye to winter snowball fights. Wausau Ordinance Section 9.08.020 prohibits the throwing of snowballs at any other person, or at, in, or into any building, street, sidewalk, alley, highway, park, playground or other public place within the city. The full ordinance states “No person shall throw or shoot any object, arrow, stone, snowball or other missile or projectile, by hand or by any other means, at any other person or at, in or into any building, street, sidewalk, alley, highway, park, playground or other public place within the city. This subsection shall not apply to archery ranges under the supervision of the park and recreation committee, nor shall it apply to the bow hunting provisions within 9.08.010. (Ord. 61-5371 ‘ 1, 2008, File No. 93-0835; Ord. 61-5339 ‘2, 2007, File No. 07-0718; Prior code ‘11.01(2).)” Yes, you are correct in reading that snowballs have been categorized into the same group as, arrows, stones, and missiles. Now, I get that sometimes ice can be inside a snowball that could cause injury, but banning all throwing of snowballs leaves me a bit puzzled. I wonder how this ordinance came into effect.
- Time for you to “moove” over.
Being America’s Dairyland, Wisconsin sure does have its fair share of cattle. Many of us will pass farms splattered across the State with cows, horses and the occasional goat or alpaca. What happens if you encounter some livestock being driven over or along your journey? Wisconsin Statute 346.21 states that the operator of the motor vehicle must yield. Hopefully you don’t run into a large herd of cattle crossing the road, or you are in for a long wait.
- Green, Green Grass
Let’s imagine that it is the middle of summer: the sun has just begun to rise, and your automatic sprinklers have popped out of the ground to spray your luscious green lawn; inside you are finishing your morning coffee before heading out the door to the office; and, the next thing you know there is a knock on your door. It’s the police and they are saying you just violated a city ordinance for watering your lawn so early. This could be the case if you live in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Sheboygan Ordinance Sec. 70-153 states that “No persons shall, with purpose or intent, sprinkle their property in any manner to the distress or annoyance of others.” Although you may not have started watering your grass with the intent of annoying others, it may end up causing you some trouble.
- No more bugs.
Summertime brings beautiful weather, barbeques, picnics, days on the water and much more… It also brings out the bugs. If you live in Hudson, Wisconsin, you don’t have to worry about bugs, at least in your house. Hudson City Code Section 140-8(C) is all about preventing bugs from entering your dwelling. The code states “Screen requirements. From May 1 to October 1, in every dwelling unit, for protection against mosquitoes, flies and other insects, every door opening directly from a dwelling unit to outdoor space shall have supplied and installed screens and a self-closing device, and every window or other device with openings to outdoor space used or intended to be used for ventilation shall likewise be supplied with screens installed.” This law sure helps keep those pesky flies out of the home.
- No more dogs or cats.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a love of animals. I personally love my family’s dog. My mother likes to take her everywhere she goes. When she goes to visit a friend, the dog goes with. A trip to get groceries? The dog is in tow. Well a city ordinance in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, prevents bringing your dog or cat to one specific location. Sun Prairie Ordinance Code 6.04.080 states “No dog or cat shall be permitted in any public cemetery. Every dog specially trained to lead blind persons shall be exempt from this section.” Personally, I think that this ordinance should be changed. I understand that dogs or cats make have an “accident” in the cemetery, but when a pet truly loves its owner, I believe they should be able to visit them if they have passed. For example, a serviceman’s dog visiting their grave with the family. As long as the animal is well-behaved and the owner is willing to pick-up after it.
Have you heard of any strange laws and want to add to these? Comment on this post and we’ll update it!