Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

It's only natural to think that, when you want a dog, you go to the pound or the pet store, pick out your pup, and go home to a long and wonderful friendship. But some new pet owners are surprised to learn that they were only renting their new best friends. Or, more accurately, getting "fleased" by long term lease agreements with exorbitant interest rates.

One such woman in New York was paying $180 a month for a Chihuahua puppy she wouldn't be able to own until she shelled out over twice the dog's asking price of $1,900 and kicked in an extra $300 purchasing fee. The New York attorney general has filed a fraud suit against the pet store, and the state has passed legislation banning pet leasing. Wait, how is pet leasing even a thing?

Cutting Loose 'Footloose' Ordinance in Arkansas

Blue laws exist in many states across America. But now, there's one less. Kick up your heels -- it's now legal to publicly dance on Sundays in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Are Smart TVs Invading Our Privacy?

The simple answer to that is, yes. But to what extent? And do we care?

Recently, two Democrat senators sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting the agency to investigate privacy issues surrounding smart TVs, which are TVs that are connected to the internet. We already learned through the Vizio investigation that these Trojan horse TVs are capable of gathering all sorts of information. It is unclear, however, if the TV manufacturers are actually gathering, processing, and/or selling this information.

Can Cannabis Be a Religious Sacrament? Judge Says No

The First Church of Cannabis in Indiana saw their lawsuit go up in smoke. The church, which claims that their congregation uses marijuana in a sacramental manner to grow closer in love to one another, sought to get a religious exemption to the state's marijuana laws under Indiana's Religious Freedom and Reformation Act (RFRA).

Though officially a recognized church by the state and the IRS, Judge Jude Sheryl Lynch of the Marion County Superior Court ruled that the church could not smoke marijuana as a religious sacrament.

Nine Year Old Crashes Car in Joyride

Apparently all those trips to amusement parks do pay off! In Des Moines, Iowa, a nine-year-old girl hopped in the family car for a joyride, along with her seven-year-old friend riding shotgun. A 911 caller alerted police, who found the car zig-zagging down the road, going curb to curb. After police failed to be able to pull the car over using their usual lights and sirens technique, the car eventually came to a halt following a minor crash in which no one was injured.

"Michelle Obama, our beloved first lady who I care so much about, said, 'When they go low, we go high,' and I went as high as I could."

That was the plan for activist Therese Patricia Okoumou, who scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty on Independence Day. Okoumou, a Congolese immigrant who became an American citizen, was protesting President Trump's immigration policies with her 100-foot climb, along with other activists who unfurled an "Abolish ICE" banner nearby. She was taken into custody and now faces three federal criminal charges.

If you haven't heard about the creepy trend of 'upskirting,' allow me to be the bearer of disgusting news. Armed with the latest in tiny camera technology, perverts in public places have been sneaking pictures from below of women wearing dresses and skirts. And, much to lawmakers' and law enforcement's dismay, efforts to criminalize the behavior have been met with mixed results.

Fortunately, karma can intervene every now and then on the side of the good people. Take the case of an unnamed Wisconsin man whose shoe camera, installed to take upskirt photos of women, exploded while he was trying it out at home, thankfully before it could be put to use.

Maybe you're a LARPer or a fan of Renaissance Fairs. Maybe you're an engineering or history student, studying the effectiveness of various siege weapons. Or maybe you've got a neighbor with high walls and a penchant for playing their music too loud.

Either way, if you're looking to launch a projectile a great distance (without the aid of explosives), you might be wondering if you can build your own catapult, trebuchet, or similar siege engine without interference from the fuzz. Here's what you need to know.

Cyberbullying has become an epidemic. And some people are taking online harassment to new levels. Instead of just threatening rape or telling someone to kill themselves, which seems part and parcel of the online experience these days, one Twitter user sent a strobing GIF to another user he knew to be epileptic, along with the message, "You deserve a seizure."

The GIF had its intended affect. The victim did have a seizure, and the sender was arrested on federal cyberstalking charges. And this week a judge allowed a battery lawsuit based on the incident to proceed in federal court.

Teacher Charged With Animal Cruelty for Feeding Puppy to Turtle

Sometimes you read a story and all can you can do is close your eyes, shake your head slowly, and maybe mutter, "But why, though?" This is one of those stories. For some reason, a teacher in Idaho decided to feed a puppy to a snapping turtle. And as if that wasn't bad enough, he did it in front of students. After word got out about the teacher's actions, the news quickly spread and sparked outrage. Now, the teacher has been charged with animal cruelty and could spend time in jail.