Butterflies are Free in Pacific Grove, CA

monarch butterfly

In Pacific Grove, California, under a city ordinance, tourist monarch butterflies have a right to “peaceful occupancy” during their annual convention there.

Even if the butterflies are swarming one’s home, interfering with occupancy and use, they can only be removed to another location on application to the police. Here’s the ordinance:

11.48.010 Interference With Prohibited.

It is declared to be unlawful for any person to molest or interfere with, in any way, the peaceful occupancy of the monarch butterflies on their annual visit to the city of Pacific Grove, and during the entire time they remain within the corporate limits of the city, in whatever spot they may choose to stop in, provided, however, that if said butterflies should at any time swarm in, upon or near the private dwelling house or other buildings of a citizen of the city of Pacific Grove in such a way as to interfere with the occupancy and use of said dwelling and/or other buildings, that said butterflies may be removed, if possible, to another location upon the application of said citizen to the chief of police.

You can see it coming. A massive class action asserting equal protection claims on behalf of other bugs similarly situated under rapidly descending rolled-up newspapers and clouds of poison gas.

Seriously though, it’s a good law. Every year, monarch butterflies take up residence in Pacific Grove as part of their migration south. They winter in Mexico, after traveling 2500 miles, the only insect to accomplish such a feat. Pretty impressive.

— City of Pacific Grove, CA Ord. 210 N.S. §§ 8-3060, 1952. Thanks to Lihwei Lin.

 

4 comments to Butterflies are Free in Pacific Grove, CA

  • Why didn’t you use an image of a Monarch butterfly with this story?

    The image you have chosen (captioned “Don’t mess with me when I’m on vacation, man.”) is that of a Viceroy (Limenitis archippus).

  • Andrew J. McClurg

    Hmm, wish I had a better explanation, but ignorance of the difference is the most accurate one. Thanks for pointing out the error.

  • Hi there,

    Found your site after a search for the “peaceful occupy” ordinance of Pacific Grove in reference to the monarch butterfly.
    I just returned from visiting Pacific Grove with a group of educators and I am gathering notes for a presentation.

    You can only imagine my surprise to see not a monarch image on your site, but that of a viceroy!

    I can see that Jacqui Knight noticed also. If you need a nice photo of a monarch, I will gladly supply you with one, so as not to confuse searchers when they land on your site.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  


Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
Learn more...

Funny Law School Stories
For all its terror and tedium, law school can be a hilarious place. Everyone has a funny law school story. What’s your story?

Strange Judicial Opinions
Large collection of oddball and off-the-wall judicial opinions and orders.

Product Warning Labels
A variety of warning labels, some good, some silly and some just really odd. If you come encounter a funny or interesting product warning label, please send it along.

Tortland
Tortman! Andrew J McClurg
Tortland collects interesting tort cases, warning labels, and photos of potential torts. Raise risk awareness. Play "Spot the Tort."

Weird Patents
Think it’s really hard to get a patent? Think again.

Legal Oddities
From the simply curious to the downright bizarre, a collection of amusing law-related artifacts.

Spot the Tort
Have fun and make the world a safer place. Send in pictures of dangerous conditions you stumble upon (figuratively only, we hope) out there in Tortland.

Legal Education
Collecting any and all amusing tidbits related to legal education.

Harmless Error
McClurg's twisted legal humor column ran for more than four years in the American Bar Association Journal.