Can a Ventura County resident be cited for making faces at a stray dog?
In light of this week’s comedy issue, the VCReporter sought out humorous city/county ordinances. For Ventura County, a Google search consistently produced a number of websites suggesting the county had three peculiar ordinances: cats and dogs are not allowed to have sex without a permit; a person may not make ugly faces at dogs found to be roaming free in the community; and it is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
If only these were true.
Though a call to the county clerk’s office to confirm the alleged ordinances brought plenty of laughter, Rosa Gonzalez, deputy clerk of the board, put the rumors to bed after searching through more than a hundred years of county municipal code.
“Not really sure how those came about,” said Gonzalez, about the false county ordinances on the Internet.
But it couldn’t be that the World Wide Web is just filled with nonsense, right?
From the same sites suggesting Ventura County’s strange laws, a number of other cities and counties in California were listed as host to equally bizarre regulations. And after a few rounds of fact checking, some turned out to be true.
In the city of Walnut, regarding the wearing of masks or disguises, the municipal code states that “No man or boy shall dress as a girl or woman without a permit from the sheriff, except for the purpose of amusement, show or drama” and “No person shall wear a mask or disguise on a public street without a permit from the sheriff.”
“It’s in our municipal code book, so yes, it can be enforced,” said Teresa De Dios, adding that calls about these particular codes are quite common around Halloween. The codes were adopted in 1959, when the city was incorporated.
Also in Walnut, in case one had such an inclination, it is unlawful to fly a kite or balloon with a “string or ribbon made of any metallic or electrical conductive material” at an altitude of 10 feet above ground, or near electrical wires.
In the city of Norco, residents can keep such animals as a rhinoceros, a lion, a panther or a lynx as long as a $100 permit is obtained.
“Norco is an animal keeping town,” explained City Clerk Brenda Jacobs. “The lots are all quite large.”
Even though Ventura County seems to lack comical municipal codes, compared to other cities in the state, it didn’t stop VCReporter’s Critical Line cartoonist Steve Greenberg from having fun with the Internet’s version of some of the county’s municipal codes.