The Levitical Code of Whitefish Bay

My wife and I are getting ready to do some heavy yard work behind our house. In preparation for this, I wanted to check the ordinances of the “village” in which we live to make sure that we didn’t need any sort of special permit.

When I first moved here four years ago, I received a warning from the police that the grass in my front yard was becoming “unruly” and that I needed to cut it ASAP. An event such as this tends to shine some light on the place you’ve chosen to live (not to mention the neighbor who will report a yard that hasn’t been cut in two weeks), and will make you extra cautious.

Anyway, as I was sorting through the ordinances earlier this morning, I found a few that made me chuckle, and I thought I’d share them with you. I imagine that each of them, along with pretty much every other ordinance in the section on “Offenses Endangering Public Morals and Decency,” could be followed by the phrase, “For such a person will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.”


No person shall within the village loiter or loaf about any public building, place or premises or wander about the streets, alleys, parks or other public places either by day or night, whose actions give rise to a suspicion of wrongdoing and who is unable to give a satisfactory account of himself, or who, having the physical ability to work, is without any visible means of support and does not seek employment, or who derives part of his support from begging, prostitution, pandering, fortune telling or as a similar imposter.


No person shall permit any cat, dog, horse, mule, cattle, sheep, goats, swine or poultry in his possession or control to run at large within the Village.


No person shall cruelly beat, frighten, maim, neglect, injure or abuse any animal or bird, or allow any animal or bird to be cruelly beaten, frightened, overburdened, neglected or abused, or use any device or chemical substance by which pain, suffering or death may result, whether the animal belongs to the person or another, except that reasonable force may be used to drive off vicious or trespassing animals. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Village Board may direct the Police Chief to permit or act to eradicate coyotes subject to whatever terms he/she deems appropriate.


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