Progress in Kansas

Some Queer Laws

UNUSUAL laws? Kansas still has a number of them on its statute books despite the extensive overhauling the state's code received a number of years ago.

     For example, it is alright to dine on snakes, lizards, centipedes, scorpions or other reptiles in private if you go in for that sort of thing, but don't try to do it in public. If you do, you are liable to a jail sentence of from 30 days to 9 months, or a fine of from $25 to $100. The law was enacted in 1903 and was designed to discourage a certain type of carnival then in vogue.

     Chicken thieves would do well to consult the statute books before they embark on their raids. If they are caught committing the theft during the daylight hours the crime only constitutes petty larceny under the law but if they slip up on the sunsuspecting chickens under the cover of night it, then, becomes grand larceny.

     Reminiscent of the days when draft animals repesented a man's most valuable piece of property is the law which decrees seven years in the penitentiary for stealing a colt, mule or ass. On the other hand, five years is the extreme penalty for extortion, blackmail or theft of a diamond ring.

     It won't do in Kansas for public carriers to report fatal accidents on their lines to the State Corporation Commission by any other medium except the telegraph. The law makes it illegal to convey such information by telephone, mail or by personal appearance to deposit a written report.

     There is one Kansas statute which, peculiarly enough, through its wording, provides a penalty for observance of its regulations. This law, covering the enumeration and taxation of dogs, says that any persons "who shall make a false report, as required in section 2 of this act, to the assessor, of the number or sex of the dogs owned, harbored or kept by him shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more tha $100." Section 2, to which this refers, requires an annual report to the assessor of the number and sex of dogs owned or harbored.

Mr. Robert W. Hemphill's response (October 1936)

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