Special report: Why is that a law?

DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – There is a city in Middle Georgia that has a law against throwing rocks at birds. If you think that’s strange, you should know that’s only the beginning. 

They’re not necessarily enforced, but they’re on the books. Most people 41NBC’s Alexa Rodriguez talked to had no idea these laws existed. 

The “Ball Playing” ordinance in Dublin from 1964 makes it illegal for anyone to play ball by throwing, catching, pitching, or batting a ball on any public street, alley, or sidewalk of the city. 

Dublin Mayor Phil Best got a kick out of that one, but he didn’t find it nearly as funny as the “Molesting Birds” law. The ordinance, created in the 60’s, recognizes the city as a bird sanctuary. It also makes it illegal for anyone to shoot birds or throw anything at them. 

“That’s interesting because we used to have pigeon shoots in Downtown, Dublin,” recalled Mayor Best. 

But residents haven’t been doing that for a while. 

“Can you imagine riding through downtown and there’s a bunch of folks out there with shotguns shooting birds?” asked Mayor Best. 

Lawmakers couldn’t either and they had good reason. 

“The Audubon Society was really big into getting folks to just pass laws and leave the birds alone,” explained Dublin City Attorney Lance Jones. 

Another ordinance put on the books more than five decades ago doesn’t allow anyone to wear masks or hoods in a public place. But if you’re walking down the street with a hoodie sweatshirt on, you don’t have to worry. 

“That was an anti-klan stature. It was to keep the Ku Klux Klan from coming into town with their hoods on,” said Jones. 

Jones says they haven’t been enforcing these laws that much, but if you’re a psychic in town, make sure you’ve turned in your paperwork. The “Fortune-Telling” ordinance enacted in 1972 requires any psychic in Dublin to be a resident of the city, buy a business license, and have it approved by the chief of police. 

“Certain occupations are a little more regulated so there’s a special license for those,” explained Jones. 

These laws only apply to Dublin, but there are some state-wide laws people didn’t recognize. The Georgia Code says all of the labels on seed packets, paint containers, and cases of eggs have to be written in English. 

“I didn’t know that either,” said Dublin resident Shelia Barbee. 

Non-profits that want to raise money with a raffle drawing need to check with their local law enforcement before they do so. According to state law, these types of organizations trying to host a raffle have to get a license that is approved by the sheriff. 

“We do a background check on the people who are going to be running the raffle and verify that they are truly a non-profit organization,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis. 

After learning about some of their older ordinances, Dublin leaders think it’s time to take a second look.

“We should see if we need to adjust them or change them. A law needs to be addressing some problem and if that’s not a problem, we don’t need it,” said Jones.

Dublin City Council re-adopted its city code in 1964. The city attorney says it is possible some of these laws are older than they originally thought.

Categories: Bibb County, Laurens County, Local News, Special Report