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Don’t Try Smuggling Skunks Across the Tennessee State Line

January 25, 2015

Wouldn’t it be nice to put a universal moratorium on unpleasantness? Could you imagine if it was suddenly illegal to frown, or if everyone was required to stay inside on rainy days? The great state of Tennessee has already started down this path, apparently—at least when it comes to skunks. According to Statute 70-4-208, it is illegal to import or possess a skunk in Tennessee.

If skunks weren’t so smelly, you might think they were cute. From a distance, a fuzzy black-and-white skunk could be mistaken for a cat. Unfortunately, skunks are at least as defensive and stinky as they are adorable. If you get too close, you can expect a face full of foul-smelling spray. Even bears are dissuaded by the skunk’s powerful odor.

Believe it or not, the skunk’s infamous defense mechanism is not the main reason for Tennessee’s ban on skunk smuggling. Skunks are common carriers of rabies; intentionally allowing more skunks into Tennessee could potentially increase the prevalence of rabies within the state. Still, the skunk’s general unpleasantness probably had something to do with the law’s passage.

The next time you take your pet skunk on a road trip, you might consider steering clear of Tennessee, as crossing into the state with a skunk is considered a Class C misdemeanor. It may be permissible to place a skunk near the border and let him walk across on his own. If you think that attempting such a feat is a good idea, however, getting caught for skunk smuggling is probably the least of your concerns.

For legal advice and guidance in Tucson, AZ or the surrounding areas, schedule an appointment with Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law. Janet Altschuler has experience as a JAG Air Force prosecutor, a criminal prosecutor, and a criminal defense lawyer.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?