Happy Birthday Michigan! Ten Weird State Laws That Haven’t Evolved Since 1837

Happy Birthday to Michigan! The Mitten State became enshrined in the Union 179 years ago. In order to celebrate, thanks to DumbLaws.com, here is a list of bizarre laws that have actually been passed. Some of them are nearly as old as the Great Lake State itself.

Politician G. Mennen Williams (L) at the opening of the Mackinac Straights Bridge. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images) Politician G. Mennen Williams (L) at the opening of the Mackinac Straits Bridge. [Image via Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images]1. It is legal for a robber to file a lawsuit, if he or she gets hurt on your property.

This law was actually taken advantage of in November 2007. CBS News reported that Scott T. Zielinski entered Nick’s Party Stop in Clinton Township, Michigan. He waved a knife around, threatened to use it, and then made off with cigarettes, alcohol and $873 in cash. He was chased out of the store by an employee, who also happened to be the owner’s nephew. The nephew was packing a.357 Magnum and fired three or four times, hitting Zielinski twice. He then proceeded to beat the daylights out of Zielinski until police arrived.

Zielinski, then 23 years old, was convicted and served an 8-year sentence. In April 2009, he filed a $125,000 lawsuit against Nick’s Party Stop, its owner and staff. The judge allowed the case to proceed, but ordered Zielinski to post a $10,000 bond. That was the end of that.

2. There is a 3 cent bounty for each starling and 10 cent bounty for each crow killed in any village, township, or city in the state.

Section 2 of this law stated that those “applying for such bounty shall take such starlings, in lots of not less than 50.” One can easily picture a potential bounty hunter standing within the village limits, blasting away at a cloud of birds with a shotgun. Besides, how do you know you’re not shooting cowbirds and ravens by mistake? Thankfully this law was repealed, but not until 2006.

3. Persons may not be drunk on trains.

There is sure to be a story behind that one!

4. It is illegal to chain an alligator to a fire hydrant in Michigan.

Alligators are not indigenous to Michigan, so there’s no telling how this one originated.

There are also some very interesting laws pertaining to women:

5. It is illegal in Michigan for a woman to cut her hair, without her husband’s permission.

6. No man may seduce and corrupt an unmarried girl in Michigan, or else he risks five years in prison.

7. You may not swear in front of women and children. (Repealed, 2002)

Some may argue that there is nothing wrong with Number 7. One can hardly discourage the cleaning up of language, although a public mandate of this nature may wax a tetch unconstitutional.

As if the state laws aren’t enough to cover the oddball sector, some of Michigan’s cities stretch it a bit more.

8. In Grand Haven, Michigan, no person shall throw an abandoned hoop skirt into any street or on any sidewalk, under penalty of a five dollar fine for each offense.

That is littering.

9. It is illegal to let your pig run free in Detroit unless it has a ring in its nose.

This makes sense. We cannot have the city overrun by feral pigs.

10. In Clawson, Michigan, it is legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats and chickens.

Again, Southeast Michigan, with the farm animals? Known as “The Little Town With the Big Heart”, Clawson is located in Oakland County, near the Detroit Metropolitan area. In 2010 its population was 11,825. So, it’s not all that little any more. When one thinks of sleeping with farm animals, one can only imagine the necessity that would cause such a judgment. Cold winters? Narcolepsy? House fire? There could be a lot of good, clean reasons. Really.

Close up of small pig with metal ring pierced through nose Pigs should not roam at liberty. [Image via Getty Images]This list might seem like Michigan residents live on the lunatic fringe. But as long as you are kind to women, and animals, and the environment, you should be just fine. A normally well-behaved person can visit the state without having to handle anything with kid gloves. Or, in this case, mittens.

Michigan Cities [Image via Phizzy/Wikipedia] The Mitten: Michigan Cities [Image via Phizzy/Wikipedia][Image via Al Goldis/Associated Press]