The Animal Legal Defense Fund takes a lot of pride in its annual report naming the best and worst states for animals (hint: California made the nice list). But it also gives us a list of its top 10 strangest animal laws, and I found them way too good to pass up. I bet you didn't know ...

  • It's against the law in Alaska to push a live moose out of an airplane while in flight. I don't care if it is hogging the armrest.

  • In Arizona, you can't let your donkey sleep in the bathtub, and the same goes for horses in South Carolina.

  • California has a law making it illegal for animals to mate within 500 yards of a church, tavern or school. So squirrels, get a room, OK?

    No matter how much the moose annoys you, you can’t push one out of a moving plane.
    No matter how much the moose annoys you, you can't push one out of a moving plane. (Erik Hill/Anchorage Daily News)

  • Riding a horse drunk is against the law in Colorado, but no indication if it's illegal to ride a drunk horse.

  • Tattooed dogs in Connecticut must be reported to the authorities, presumably the dog tattoo police.

  • In Georgia, giving away goldfish at bingo contests is banned. This one I get.

  • Idaho bans fishing while riding a camel, which I didn't know was possible.

  • Horses are banned from eating fire hydrants in Iowa, which makes me wonder if you really need to tell horses that. Are hydrants made from hay?

  • If you live in Maryland and have a lion, you can't bring it into a movie theater. It will just have to wait until the film shows up on Netflix.


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  • In what I'm sure is happy news to cetaceans everywhere, it's against the law to hunt whales in Nebraska, so when the polar ice cap melts and Nebraska has an ocean view, this will come in handy.

    OK, now for the serious news. For the sixth year in a row, California made it into the top five, joined once again by Illinois, Oregon, Michigan and Maine.

    Our Golden State was recognized for continuing its strong "commitment to combating animal cruelty" through a variety of new laws and the strengthening of others.

    No fishing from atop a camel.
    No fishing from atop a camel. (Tara Todras-Whitehill)

    In addition to a new mountain lion protection law, the state banned the use of hound dogs to hunt bears and bobcats, a practice that was bad not only for the animals involved, but for other wildlife that got caught in the middle.

    The Defense Fund recommends that lawmakers work on existing laws to make the penalties stiffer and the protections greater.

    North Dakota was recognized for showing one of the biggest improvements by assigning felony penalties to cases of extreme animal cruelty and torture.

    Arizona was named the "most improved state" for strengthening its "cost of care provisions," which allow judges to force those convicted of animal cruelty to reimburse agencies for the care and treatment the abused animals received. California also passed cost of care legislation.

    Whales have a safe haven in Nebraska, which prohibits whale hunting.
    Whales have a safe haven in Nebraska, which prohibits whale hunting. (Tim Johnson)

    Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Nevada passed anti-breed specific legislation to prevent the bills that target pit bulls, and Oregon amended its anti-cruelty laws, including new requirements for animal rescues.

    On the other side were the worst states -- Kentucky, Iowa, South Dakota, New Mexico and Wyoming, all of which did little in 2013 to improve already lax and limited animal abuse laws.

    Kentucky was designated the worst for the seventh year in a row. Abuse an animal in that state and you get off easy, the l fund asserts.

    Obviously, there's still a lot of work to be done in this country and around the world. We've got the fishing from camel thing licked, so let's get to work on the other stuff.

    Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com or 1700 Cavallo Road, Antioch, CA 94509.