There are so many wonderful things to enjoy about Ohio — Ohio State football, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and awesome spring festivals to name a few. But, there’s also no denying that the Buckeye State has some interesting and even downright weird laws on the books.
Read on (and prepare to scratch your head) to learn about some of the weird laws in Ohio. Are some of these true? Absolutely.
In fact, many of them probably existed at one time or another as blue laws — statutes that usually prohibit the sale of certain items on Sundays or place restrictions on certain consumables. But, there’s also a good chance that many of these laws exist today as urban legends.
This doesn’t mean that they’re any less fun to talk about. In fact, if you were to ask any native Ohioan, they may have heard of at least one of these crazy statutes.
Columbus Cannot Legally Sell Cornflakes on Sunday
Cornflakes are a staple of many American breakfasts and were created by W.K. Kellogg of the famed Michigan Kellogg Company in 1894.
As delicious as they may be, residents of Columbus Ohio can’t get them on Sundays. No word, however, on whether Frosted Flakes or Grape Nuts are ok to buy for your Sunday breakfast.
No One Can Be Arrested on Sunday or on the Fourth of July
Between the beverages, barbecues, and fireworks, there are plenty of reasons to love the Fourth of July. But, did you also know that you can’t get arrested on America’s holiday in Ohio?
“No person shall be arrested during a sitting of the Senate or House of Representatives, within the hall where such session is being held, or in any court of justice during the sitting of such court, or on Sunday or on the fourth day of July.”ORC Section 2331.12, adopted in 1953
Of course, we recommend having fun in a safe manner on July 4, but if you’re a daredevil, you can see how much you can get away with.
One Day, Ohioans May Be Able to Drink at 19
Everyone knows the national drinking age is 21, but if that statute is ever repealed, Ohio has a plan to lower the state drinking age to 19. The 21-and-up mandate would still apply to drinks classified as “intoxicating liquor,” but beer at 19 would totally be ok.
You Can’t Get a Fish Drunk
One of the weirdest laws in Ohio is that it’s illegal to get a fish drunk. It’s hard to say when or why this law came to pass — it may have been on the books to protect Ohio fish against agricultural runoff.
Fishing is all about having a good time, but it’s unknown if getting a fish drunk will improve your chances of landing a big one.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources implores fishermen to not use alcohol while boating and suggests packing plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and food to stay hydrated and alert.
You Cannot Take Another Fisherman’s Catch
According to an Ohio law, a fish caught in a net or something similar belongs to the person who caught it. So, you can’t just walk up to another fisherman and take his fish without written permission. Every stolen fish that you take is counted as a separate offense.
In Ohio, it’s Illegal to Fish for Whales on Sundays
Even though anyone from the Buckeye State can tell you that there are no whales of any kind in Ohio waters, eager anglers can fish for them any other day of the week.
Unfortunately, there are no specific laws from the Ohio DNR or in the Ohio Revised Code pertaining to whales.
It’s Also Illegal to Breed Whales in Perrysburg
Perrysburg, located south of Toledo Ohio, has a law on the books about whales too. According to Ordinance 618.22, residents are prohibited from possessing “restricted animal species,” including whales, dolphins, and porpoises, as well as animals such as vampire bats, armadillos, and many more.
The reason for this law is quite simple — If the animal were to escape, it may be a danger to property or human life.
If You Go Mouse Hunting in Cleveland, Make Sure You Have a License
Ohio sportsmen are able to hunt for a variety of animals when they’re in season, but in Cleveland, the law says it’s illegal to catch mice without a hunting license.
Have you ever snagged one without a proper hunting license? No? Well, you’re probably not alone. The bottom line is that whether or not you have a license, those critters are still pretty elusive to hunters and non-hunters alike.
Ohio Has Some Interesting Rules About Bread
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t enjoy bread, either on its own or as part of a meal. Ohio has some interesting laws about it, including ORC Section 911.18, which states that Ohio bakeries cannot sell bread loaves that weigh less than 12 ounces.
Additionally, heavier loaves must be sold in increments of 2 ounces and be labeled with their weight and information about the businesses that sold them. However, the rule doesn’t apply to “fancy bread.”
Don’t Think About Owning Farm Animals in Bay Village
Nestled on the western suburbs of Cleveland, this village of less than 20,000 people has a law on the books that prohibits owning a farm animal within the city limits.
If this sounds strange, it dates back to the days when the village prohibited residents from walking cows down Lake Road. It’s easy to see why because farmers walking cows down the road would have easily held up traffic.
Ohio Has Specific Laws About Exotic Animals
After a 2012 incident for which a Zanesville man released dozens of exotic animals, Gov. John Kasich signed a law prohibiting Ohioans from owning, trading, and selling exotic animals — unless those residents owned or cared for those animals prior to 2012.
That means Ohioans can’t sell elephants, big cats, wolves, several snake species, and many more. The law says Ohio residents can’t own venomous snakes or constrictors, such as anacondas or pythons, that are longer than 12 feet.
If You Lose Your Pet Tiger in Ohio, Tell Someone Fast
Disclaimer: This law doesn’t apply specifically to just tigers.
According to ORC 2927.21, any species of the animal kingdom that escapes its owner’s custody and is not a native species or “presents a risk of serious physical harm,” has to be reported. Many Ohio cities also have this provision in their own city codes.
It’s Illegal to Display Colored Chickens or Rabbits for Sale
At various times, selling colored chicks and rabbits has been a thing in Ohio and rubbed people the wrong way.
Section 925.62 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits the sale or giving away of any rabbit or baby poultry that has been dyed or colored in some other way. A law just like this apparently passed in Cleveland in 2003.
In Ohio, Practice Common Courtesy When Driving
The Ohio driver’s education manual, which all Ohioans have flipped through on the way to getting their licenses, states that they must honk their horns whenever they pass another car.
The statute also states that Ohio motor vehicles must have a horn that’s in good working order. So honk, but don’t honk too much.
Lay Off Your Car Horn in Fairview Park
It may be polite to honk while passing a car in Ohio, but in the Cleveland suburb of Fairview Park, you want to be careful about honking too much.
In Fairview Park, residents and visitors are prohibited from honking their horns excessively. How much constitutes excessive? That’s really up to the local police, but it’s a good idea to avoid honking your horn so as not to disturb the peace.
In Canton, Electric Fences Are Banned
In Canton Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, putting up an electric fence around your residential property is considered a crime, according to North Canton Ordinance 23-2020. Whoever violates this statute could be charged with a minor misdemeanor.
Watch Where You Swing Your Fly Swatter in Ohio
You might be hard-pressed to find someone who enjoys having house flies around, but getting rid of them in some places in Ohio requires great care.
Believe it or not, there’s a law stating that it’s illegal to kill a housefly within 160 feet of a church, unless you have a proper license. We’re not sure where one gets a housefly-killing license, but keep an eye on where you swing your fly swatter.
You Can’t Make “Yo Momma” Jokes in Shopping Centers in Coshocton
If someone really gets under your skin in a Coshocton shopping mall, the law states that you can’t abuse or curse at another person concerning their male or female relatives. If you really want to tell someone how you feel about them (or their relatives), save it for the parking lot.
In Lowellville, You Can’t Store Junk in Your House
According to municipal code 707.09 in Lowellville Ohio, residents can’t store junk in their houses and are prohibited from using their houses for “storage of handling of rags or junk.”
Women Must Choose Their Footwear Carefully in Cleveland
Speaking of Cleveland, there’s another weird law on the books that prevents women from wearing patent leather shoes in public.
Confused? The law dates back to a time when it was thought that, by wearing patent leather shoes, the reflection of the shoes would result in accidental up-skirt glances.
In Paulding, Policemen Can Take a Bite Out of Crime
Perhaps one of the weirdest laws in Ohio can be found in the village of Paulding, located southwest of Toledo. In Paulding, a police officer can bite a dog to quiet him.
In Ohio, Keep Tabs on Your House Occupants
One Buckeye State law states that more than five women cannot live in the same house. It’s speculated that this law dates back to when homes of ill repute regularly housed multiple women. It is very unlikely that this law is regularly enforced today.
Make Sure You Have Gas in Youngstown
No matter where you are, running out of gas isn’t fun. But if you’re going to run out of gas, even accidentally, make sure it’s not in Youngstown.
Why is that, you ask? It’s considered a crime. That’s right, it’s a misdemeanor to run out of gas in Youngstown.
This statute is likely in place because running out of fuel can be a safety hazard on busy city streets. So if you’re traveling through Youngstown, make sure that you have enough fuel. Otherwise, you may end up with a pricey ticket.
Oxford Ohio Has Some Interesting Laws About Women
Oxford Ohio, located in the state’s southwest region and home to Miami University, has some interesting laws regarding women.
First, it’s illegal in the city for a woman to disrobe while she’s standing in front of a man’s picture. Second, a woman cannot appear in public if she is unshaven, which includes the woman’s legs and face.
Watch How & Where You Eat a Doughnut in Marion Ohio
Doughnuts are delicious and a great addition to any breakfast. But in Central Ohio in Marion, customers have to watch where they walk and enjoy their sweet treats. Why is that, you may ask?
The law says that, if you’re eating a doughnut on a Marion city street, you can’t walk backward at the same time. Walking forward and eating a jelly-filled doughnut is fine, but if you go against the grain and walk backward, watch out!
Be Careful for These Weird Laws in Ohio During Your Next Visit
There’s a lot to like about Ohio — from its wonderful museums to its picturesque parks to its rich history. Nine times out of 10, your visit to Ohio will be perfectly pleasant and you’ll never run afoul of the law.
But if you ever find yourself in towns like Marion or Bay Village or Cleveland, don’t try to do anything foolish. After all, you never know if a policeman will be watching as you walk backward with a donut, wear rock patent leather shoes in public, or decide go to hunting for an elusive Ohio whale.