TWIN FALLS — Don’t offer beer or tobacco to birds. Don’t keep a house of ill fame. And don’t let your 10-year-old run around naked.
Twin Falls City Codes are there for a reason, but sometimes their very existence or wording is enough to induce a few laughs. The Times-News took a look into some of Twin Falls’ humorous, interesting or outdated laws to discover what they say and when they were put into place.
Did you know? In Twin Falls:
1. Your 9-year-old could (probably) run around naked.
Twin Falls City Code Title 6, Chapter 2, Section 19 defines nudity as: “The showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering; the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple; the exposure of any device, costume, or covering which gives the appearance of or simulates the genitals, pubic hair, natal cleft, perineum, anal region or pubic hair region; or the exposure of any device worn as a cover over the nipples and/or areola of the female breast, which device simulates and gives the realistic appearance of nipples and/or areola.”
But there are two exclusions specifically named in this code: breastfeeding women and children under 10 years old.
The City Council passed the “anti-nudity ordinance” in 2001. Among the reasons listed for the passage: “WHEREAS, the City of Twin Falls desires to prevent prostitution, sexual assault, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and other deleterious effects.”
Twin Falls Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs guesses that while state code doesn’t exempt children, probably most people wouldn’t be offended if a 9-year-old was running around without clothes.
“That would have been something where the City Council would have just decided that they didn’t want to see prosecution of any child under the age of 10, or parents who are allowing a child under the age of 10 to take off their clothes,” Loebs said.
2. You can’t drive an animal carelessly.
Twin Falls City Code Title 6, Chapter 2, Section 4B addresses a specific type of cruelty to animals: “No person shall recklessly or carelessly drive or ride any horse or animal on any street, alley or other public place.”
The law appears to have been passed in 1958.
3. You have to keep your female dog locked up when she’s in heat.
City Code Title 6, Chapter 14, Section 14 makes specific references to keeping female dogs when they are in the “copulating season.” It states that it is a violation:
“For the owner or person having possession, charge, custody or control of any female dog to cause, permit or allow the same to stray or run, or in any other manner to be at large while such female dog is in the copulating season. If any female dog cannot be controlled by the owner, possessor or keeper of such dog during the copulating season, the female dog may be declared a nuisance and impounded by the animal control officer or police department.
Additionally, it is a violation “For any person to let to a bitch dog, any dog, or let to any female any male animal, except within an enclosure so arranged as to obstruct such animal completely from the view of all persons who have no proprietary interest in the breeding of such animals.”
The ordinance codifying this section was passed in 1978. Penalties of this ordinance, upon conviction, result in a fine up to $300, imprisonment in jail up to 90 days, or both.
4. You can’t throw things at bicyclists.
Twin Falls City Code Title 9, Chapter 2, Section 23 is a continuation of bicycle safety recommendations that the City Council passed by ordinance in 2010. Among them are rules prohibiting the harassment of bicyclists. It states:
“It shall be unlawful for any person, maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass or cause another person to crash, stumble, or fall because that other person is walking along the roadway or operating a bicycle along the roadway, to:
(A) Threaten, by word or act, to cause physical injury to the pedestrian or bicyclist, or
(B) Throw or otherwise expel any object at or in the direction of the pedestrian or bicyclist.”
5. You can’t burn manure or feathers in Twin Falls.
Twin Falls City Code Title 7, Chapter 3, Section 3 addresses animal nuisances. Among them is: “It is hereby declared a nuisance to burn any refuse, manure or animal or poultry droppings and feathers within the City limits.”
This subsection was added in 1987. A person could be fined up to $300 dollars, face up to 90 days in jail, or both upon being convicted of a violation.
6. You can’t climb trees or offer tobacco to animals in parks.
Title 8, Chapter 3 of City Code includes a section related to park property. In Twin Falls parks, you cannot “Give or offer, or attempt to give to any animal or bird any tobacco, alcohol or other known noxious substance.” You also can’t “Climb any tree or walk, stand or sit upon monuments, vases, fountains, railing, fences or upon any other property not designated or customarily used for such purposes.”
This code change was passed by ordinance in 2002. Someone convicted of violating this subsection could be fined up to $300 dollars, face up to 90 days in jail, or both upon being convicted of a violation.
7. You can’t neglect or abandon signs.
Title 10, Chapter 9, Section 13 of City Code states that abandoned and neglected signs shall be considered a public nuisance. “A neglected sign is a sign which contains missing panels, burned out lights, missing letters, rust, loose parts, is faded from its natural color, or is in a similar state of disrepair.”
Violations of this code could eventually result in a citation, removal and impounding of the sign.
This code was passed on Dec. 8, 2008. Sometimes laws are made because something is deemed offensive, inappropriate, crude or in bad taste, Loebs said.
“That’s not doing harm to anybody. It just looks bad,” he said. “It makes things look ugly. It makes things look neglected and cruddy and rundown.”
8. You can’t keep a ‘house of ill fame.’
Title 10, Chapter 2, Section 8 of City Codes addresses Twin Falls’ prostitution laws. The code specifically refers to a prostitute as a “her,” and also states that “No person shall either keep or assist in keeping a house of ill fame resorted to for the purpose of prostitution or lewdness, or to be employed in such house in any capacity, or reside therein; nor shall any person resort to any house of ill fame for the purpose of prostitution or lewdness.”
9. You can’t throw gas on parade participants.
Twin Falls City Codes Title 9, Chapter 13, Section 13 addresses public conduct during parades. It states, “No person shall throw, squirt, dump or drop any liquid or gaseous substance on, toward, among or between participants, vehicles or animals in a parade.”
“You kind of wonder what happened to cause somebody to want to put these things into law,” Loebs said.
It appears this code was passed in 1987.