Dumb laws make an ass of everyone

The world of the law can be an awfully strange place. Lawyer and writer Nathan Belofsky has collected some of the globe's most baffling laws in his new publication The Book of Strange and Curious Legal Oddities.

And some, you'll be surprised to learn, were enacted only recently.

The US is filled with bizarre and outdated statutes governing everything from the sales of "stuffed articles depicting female breasts" (illegal within a thousand feet of any county highway in California) to "turkey scrambles" (in which a bird is thrown into the air for the purpose of being "captured," illegal in Minnesota) to throwing candy from a float in a parade (illegal in Grand Forks, North Dakota). Canada has a law banning the practice of "witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration"; the mayor of Eboli, Italy, will fine any couple he finds kissing in a car. Here are some other laws you might find intriguing:

• Dueling: Apparently this was a big problem in Kentucky, US, because as recently as 1998, the state passed a law requiring first responders and emergency response organisations to take an oath not to duel with deadly weapons.

• Dog Poop: In 2008, Petah Tikva, Israel, introduced a weird program matching dogs to their droppings with DNA testing - and then rewarding owners who put the poop in designated receptacles.

• Ugly Veggies: Last July, the EU finally epealed laws dictating the shape, size, and color of various produce. The law had inspired a “Save Our Ugly Fruits and Vegetables” campaign.

• Fish Abuse: In a recent animal abuse crackdown, Rome outlawed sphere-shaped fish bowls.

• Italy’s “Emergency” Provisions: During a “security emergency” in 2008, Italy gave mayors nigh-unlimited power. The result? One mayor outlawed sand castles. Another outlawed mowing the lawn on weekends - which might disturb someone trying to nap. Others outlawed reading in the park, and putting your feet up on public benches.