According to the website and other sites like it, Utah has a number of bizarre and downright silly laws on the books, from laws making a husband responsible for criminal acts committed by his wife while she's in his presence to a law making it illegal to sell alcohol during an emergency.

Many of the things listed on those sites are touted as truth all across the Internet, from Twitter to, and

But just because the Internet says something is true doesn't mean it actually is.

Here's an attempt to dig through 10 "dumb laws" supposedly enforced in Utah to see if the claims are built on fact or fiction — or sometimes a little bit of both.

Whale hunting

Claim: Utah is known for its abundant hunting grounds, but if you're looking to bag a whale, think again. In Utah, hunting a whale is deemed an offense.

Truth: The word "whale" (unsurprisingly) doesn't show up anywhere in Utah code. The federal government's Marine Mammal Protection Act, however, states that "it is unlawful for any person or vessel or other conveyance to take any species of whale incident to commercial whaling in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States."

If a whale appears in the Great Salt Lake, it's probably best to just leave it alone.


Claim: The ice has melted off most Utah lakes and many fishermen are hankering to drop their lines in hopes of catching a big one. As long as anglers stay on the docks, a boat or the shoreline they should be fine, but if they are looking to fish from horseback, it's against the law.

Truth: The 2014 Utah Fishing Guidebook does not mention anything about fishing from horseback, but fair warning — it does get pretty specific about fishing with a crossbow.

The Utah Water Quality Act, however, does not look kindly upon people making any discharge into water of a pollutant "which constitutes a menace to public health and welfare, or is harmful to wildlife, fish or aquatic life, or impairs domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational or other beneficial uses of water," so keep an eye on your horse.

Got milk?

Claim: We all know underage drinking is against the law, but you may be breaking the law by not getting your daily fix of calcium in liquid form — that is, milk.

Truth: It doesn't appear that Utahns are required to meet any sort of milk intake requirement, but milk discrimination requirements? Those, Utahns have to worry about.

According to the Utah Criminal Code, "unfair discrimination" of sections, communities, localities, cities or towns by buyers of milk, cream or butterfat constitutes an offense against public health, safety, welfare and morals.

Rain dance

Claim: If you need some extra moisture on your crops, make sure you get your permit before doing the rain dance. To modify the weather, the law requires that you get a permit first.

Truth: The Utah Administrative Code does indeed include the words "weather modification," saying that, "It is unlawful for any person or organization, not specifically exempted by laws and this rule, to act or perform services as a weather modifier." Under the code, "weather modification" means "all acts undertaken to artificially distribute or create nuclei in cloud masses for the purposes of altering precipitation, cloud forms or other meteorological parameters.

In other words, "weather modification" means cloud seeding, and rain dances are most likely exempt.

If you're intent on performing some cloud seeding, though, you'd better make sure you've got a degree in meteorology and experience in the field and/or other training that makes you competent enough to perform the task. It's the law.

The right of way

Claim: We all know pedestrians have the right of way on most roads, but when it comes to the highways, the birds are the ones who come first.

Truth: This claim has been widely circulated and laughed at online, but never backed up with evidence — at least, not that we could find.

Utah's Motor Vehicle Act doesn't mention birds anywhere, and while Utah's Traffic Code includes animals as "traffic," it specifically limits that definition to "ridden or herded animals."

Whether or not birds have the right of way, after multiple families of geese tried to cross I-15 last May, Utah Highway Patrol troopers reminded drivers to keep an eye out for the unusual pedestrians anyway.

It is, by the way, legal — but not recommended — to consume roadkill meat in Utah.

No Mike Tyson

Claim: Boxing matches are legal, but if those matches allow biting, you can forget about it here in Utah.

Truth: Under the rules governing an "ultimate fighting match" in Utah as laid out in the Utah Criminal Code, it is, in fact, not okay to bite people.


Claim: Did you wake up this morning and think you'd cause a catastrophe? Well, you better think again — that behavior is illegal here in the Beehive State.

Truth: The Utah Criminal Code defines a "catastrophe" as an event where a "person causes widespread injury or damage to persons or property" by using a weapon of mass destruction or causing an explosion, fire, flood, avalanche or collapse of a building, among other things.

Depending on how you cause your catastrophe, you're looking at a first or second degree felony. It's also a class A misdemeanor to cause the catastrophe recklessly.

The Milkman

Claim: There should be no worry in Salt Lake County that little Johnny looks like the milkman. In this county, interaction with customers is limited to casual contact only.

Truth: Under the Salt Lake County Code of Ordinances (Chapter 6.40.010), a "milkman" is defined as someone who makes residential deliveries "normally not involving personal contact with customers except for occasional contact for purposes of obtaining additional customers for such regular deliveries."

Riding while intoxicated

Claim: If you've had too much to drink and still decide to get behind the wheel of a car, there are plenty of laws that apply to you. However, if you are riding an animal, feel free to disregard drunk-driving laws.

Truth: According to Utah's Traffic Code, Utah's definition of a "vehicle" is a "device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except devices used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks."

Is a horse a device? According to the 1986 Utah v. Blowers case, the answer is no.


Claim: "Look Ma, no hands…" It may be fun to try out a new bicycle trick, but make sure you keep at least one hand on the handlebars — it's the law.

Truth: Under Utah's Traffic Code, it is indeed a requirement that a rider keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times when on a bike or a moped.