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Fla's Forgotten Laws: Men in Gowns, Ticketed Elephants - and Sex with Porcupines

11:58 PM, Feb 18, 2011   |    comments
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No "you-know-what" with a porcupine.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A look around the Florida Code of Laws may not sound like your idea of a good time, but if you can get through the usual, basic stuff, you might find some laws that'll leave you scratching your head.

Laws Involving Women

Most every Sunday at Skydive Jacksonville, a law is broken, but unless you're scared of heights or jumping out of planes, there's no reason to worry about visiting them at the Herlong Airport.

The law being broken is an old one that says no unmarried woman can parachute on Sundays.

"When you guys called that's the first we heard of that," said Tommy Gate, who works at Skydive Jacksonville.

He said he's never heard of it being enforced, and it certainly hasn't stopped anyone from coming out on one of their busiest days of the week.

"We have quite a few women come on Sunday, some are married and some are unmarried."

Laws Involving Animals

If the single lady skydiving law seems strange, then the elephant law will really have you wondering.

In Florida, if an elephant is left at a parking meter, the owner is not exempt from the fees, and will be ticketed at an expired meter.

"I've been here almost 30 years and I've never heard of that," said Dan Maloney, deputy director of the Jacksonville Zoo.

"But I have to say, if the sheriff's office comes across one of my elephants at a parking meter, they have my permission to give it a ticket."

And sticking with the animal theme, there is actually a law on the books that said sex with a porcupine is illegal.

Maloney said they don't have any porcupines at the zoo, and he's not an expert, but can understand that law.

"Yeah, that's a good idea; that law is understandable."

For many, these laws don't make any sense. But Florida Coastal School of law professor James Woodruff said they were enacted in a time when they may have been more accepted.

"A lot of these come out of the 1800s during the religious revivals and the push to bring morals to America," Woodruff said.

And they haven't been taken off the books because of the literal act of Congress it would take, he said.

"Some prosecutors know about these laws but won't enforce them because either a jury will nullify them with a not-guilty verdict, or it's just in bad taste in today's climate."

However, he said some strange laws will be used as back-ups by prosecutors or defense lawyers when their cases otherwise seem thin.

"Oh yes, they're enforced from time to time," he said, "They'll usually come up when a lawyer is looking for some sort of creative defense or looking for another cause of action they can bring up."

But there's no record of a ticket ever being written for the laws mentioned above, and for that reason Gate at the Dropzone says it's nothing to worry about.

"They'd make a fortune if they actually enforced it," he said of the single woman parachuting law. "It wouldn't fly."

A few other strange laws in both Florida and Georgia:

Florida Laws

1. Pregnant pigs can't be kept in cages. (According to Woodruff this is a fairly recent law passed under pressure of animal rights groups over hog farmers and conditions pigs were kept. Woodruff said this law is actually enforced.

2. It is illegal to sell your children. 

3. Men may not be seen in public in a strapless gown.

4. Horse theft is penalized by death.

Georgia Laws

1. Signs must be written in English.

2.  It's illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket on Sundays. (We can't confirm this one, but it keeps coming up over and over again - and it just sounds funny. We'd love to hear any explanation of that one if you have it.)

Let us know of any unusual laws you've heard of. We'd especially like to hear if you or someone you know has ever been ticketed, fined or arrested for breaking any of these laws.

First Coast News

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