Oakwood’s oddities (law edition)

Exploring Oakwood’s most mind-boggling laws


Visions Valued: The Oakwood Public Safety building is where all of these laws are enforced and enforced, following their values. “We are committed to Integrity by upholding community trust. Dedication thru loyalty to the community. Respect by treating all people with dignity and in an unbiased manner,” said in the Public Safety Department’s website.

Alex Siouffi, Reporter

Oakwood, Ohio is known for its strict speed limits and high police presence, among other things. It is probably safe to say that not a lot of people take the time to read through the 200+ pages of ordinances and laws, so a majority of people may not be aware of the weird laws that exist.  

“Weird laws” can be defined as a law that, perhaps without specific context, appears as extremely out of the ordinary or can make you go, “Why is this a law? What in history happened to where this is actually illegal?”

Oakwood is no exception, as the city has quite a few weird laws.  After scavenging through all of Oakwood’s ordinances and laws on their official website and after compiling a list of these weird laws, a survey was sent out to the student body to collect data about their knowledge of said weird laws.

The first, and perhaps the most random law: You cannot artificially color or dye a rabbit in Oakwood, nor can you sell an artificially colored or dyed rabbit. Consider the possibility that Oakwood’s government viewed the coloring of rabbits as a huge issue, or whatever the case may have been.  Out of the 52 respondents from grades 9-12, 69.2 percent of people were not aware of this law.  Most of the respondents’ thoughts on this law were just “weird”.

Laws exist because someone tried to do it,” an anonymous student said. “So who tried to sell an artificially colored rabbit in Oakwood?”

Conservation of rabbits could be important to our local government. Apparently, the same can be said about…refrigerators?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our second weirdest law on this list specifies: you cannot abandon a refrigerator in Oakwood. 82.7 percent of respondents did not know that this was a law.  Now, “abandon” in this case means to leave a refrigerator outdoors.  Some argued that this is to keep Oakwood clean of trash. While this may be true, it is hard to say why Oakwood’s government specified the prohibition of the abandonment of refrigerators and not trash in general. It is possible that refrigerants pollute the environment, thus the creation of this law.  However other everyday appliances contain environmentally toxic substances, but there is no mention of, for example, a stove’s abandonment being outlawed.  

The third weird Oakwood law: you cannot spit on a sidewalk in Oakwood.  Now, more respondents knew this law existed, but a majority did not. 59.6 percent were unaware of this law.

An anonymous responder said, “Weird. It’s a sidewalk, it’s not supposed to be clean.”

It is almost impossible to keep something as publicly used as a sidewalk completely clean.  They’re made to walk on, not eat off of.  Has anyone else never heard of a law stating that you can’t spit on a sidewalk? 

The fourth weird law on this list, and perhaps the most mind boggling: if your dog barks too loud or too much, you can be charged with a minor misdemeanor.  This law isn’t as weird as other laws listed above, and comes with public nuisance reasons. Despite that, it’s still pretty weird that a socially accepted companion animal is expected to lower the volume of their barking.  They are dogs, not people.  Anyways, the general knowledge of this law was perfectly split, with 50 percent of respondents aware of this law being in place and the other 50 percent not being aware of this law being in place.

 “Can you control that? My neighbors’ dogs bark a lot and so does my dog,” another anonymous respondent said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a law. More of a nuisance than law breaking.”  

If there are ways to control that, they are probably not humane ways.  However, it is actually a law. On the updated 2020 version of the Oakwood City General Offenses Code, it states in Chapter 505, section 09 (505.09):

“No person shall keep or harbor any dog within the City which, by frequent or habitual barking, howling, or yelping during part or all of any day or night, creates unreasonably loud and disturbing noises of such a character, intensity, and duration as to disturb the peace, quiet and good order of the City. (b) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. (Ord. 3804. Passed 9-19-88.)”. 

It is actually a law and not just a public nuisance.  Now, the penalties for a minor misdemeanor are simply paying fines.  No, you will not get locked up in maximum security federal prison because Sparky was barking above the acceptable limit.

If any reader would like to look into Oakwood’s laws, you can visit https://oakwoodohio.gov/city-ordinances/ and read through all of the different sections of city ordinances.  You will probably have the most luck discovering Oakwood’s weirdest laws under the “General Offenses” code.  However, if you would like to just simply educate yourself about Oakwood’s laws, then feel free to read through the ordinances as much as you would like!