(WTVO) — Illinois has hundreds of laws to keep residents safe and the state prosperous, but some of them are certainly weirder than others.
Find a list of the strangest Illinois laws below:
Dogs can serve as wedding witnesses.
Illinois is not one of the seven states that don’t require officiants, which would allow animals there to unofficially take on the role of Justice of the Peace. However, you may be surprised to learn that your four-legged friend can legally serve as a witness, and can sign the marriage license by way of a paw print.
Illinois residents can carry certain types of knives
Illinois law says certain blades, like switchblades or automatic blades, are illegal to own, manufacture, or sell, but other knives which are legal to carry can be illegal in certain circumstances. Folding Blade knives are defined as a type in which the blade folds into the handle, and can be extended using a finger motion. A pocket knife and butterfly knife would be considered this type of knife. Folding blade knives are legal in Illinois, so long as the blade is less than 3 inches in length.
Fixed Blade knives have no moving parts and are carried in a sheath. These would include kitchen knives. These types of knives are legal to own in Illinois and can be opened or concealed so long as the blade is not longer than 3 inches.
Illinois residents cannot have capybaras as pets
Capybaras make look adorable, but do they make good pets? And are they legal to own in Illinois? Capybaras are rodents, native to South Africa, which look similar to guinea pigs. They are generally considered docile and often allow humans to pet or hand-feed them. However, capybaras can carry ticks, lice and other parasites so contact with the furry creatures is generally discouraged.
The exotic animals are also considered very sensitive, and suffer extreme “separation anxiety” and are generally kept in pairs. They also have a lot of health requirements which make their upkeep cost prohibitive for zoos. While Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Washington, North Carolina and Tennessee allow people to keep capybaras as pets, Illinois does not.
Illinois residents over 50 can marry their cousin
The heart may want what it wants, as Emily Dickinson once said, but what if what the heart wants is marrying your cousin? According to Illinois Statute 750 ILCS 5/212, marriage between first cousins is illegal, unless both parties are over 50 years old. If the participants in the marriage are younger than 50 years of age, then at least one of the pair must present a certificate signed by a licensed physician that they are permanently and irreversibly sterile and cannot have children.
Illinois residents can bury people in their backyard
When a loved one passes away, some people would rather keep the body of the deceased close by, on family property. But, is it legal to bury a body in my yard in Illinois? The answer, according to Illinois Funeral Laws, is yes — depending on local zoning rules. There are no laws in the state to prohibit home burial.
Local zoning laws could determine the distance a burial plot needs to be from water, power lines, other buildings, and roads. Some of these requirements could make backyard burial impossible, depending on the space available.