John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, a Rhode Island community comes out against the "threat" of LED lighting and Bhutan outlaws cars from the road on Tuesdays.
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (last week's edition here):
DOG EXECUTIONS, IN ALABAMA
One heroic pup who must be really good at holding his breath has caused the town of Florence, located in the northwest corner of Alabama, to throw out its practice of destroying unwanted dogs. Last October, animal-control officer Cody Berry opened the door of the pound's gas chamber, which he had just filled with a load of fresh dogs, and noticed a tail wagging among the corpses. Berry quickly shut the door and turned on the gas again... actually, no. What he did was give the weakened Beagle-mix some water and a new name: "Daniel," for the Biblical fellow who escaped a den of lions.
Because of the animal's death-defying stunt, Florence has decided to dismantle its gas chamber in favor of becoming a no-kill animal shelter, according to All Voices. The invincible cur's story has sent ripples coursing through the world of politics, with senators as far away as Pennsylvania trying to pass a "Daniel's Law" against canine gassing.
LED LIGHTS, IN RHODE ISLAND
Energy-saving LED signs are no longer allowed in Hopkinton, which is squeezed up against the southern Connecticut border, because the town council considers them a "safety hazard and a threat to the atmosphere of rural communities." In what sounds like a joke, the Westerly Sun reports that "councilor and lighting designer" Barbara Capalbo was behind the push to exile the green technology. She explained her outrage thus: "If you allow the self-illuminated diodes, you end up getting super bright signs that can change color, flash, pattern, move, and you have no control over their brightness, how often they change."
The town decided that if LEDs were permitted to flash wantonly, motorists could become confused and crash their vehicles. The restriction of diodes will help assuage locals' fear that Hopkinton could soon become a hellhole of glittering lights like its bigger-sized neighbors, Johnston and Cranston.
CARS, IN BHUTAN
Thimphu, Chhukha, Pemagatsel and other cities in this Himalayan kingdom are awfully quiet on certain days under a new prohibition against driving. The rulers of this country of about 700,000 people decided that to help save the environment, they'd banish all gas-powered vehicles except buses, taxis and emergency vehicles from the roads on Tuesdays, all over Bhutan. Actually, Prime Minister Jigme Thinley had a more poetic way of phrasing it, per his executive order:
This will be a day when Bhutanese citizens will seize the opportunity to contemplate the fragile nature of our precious Himalayan mountain ecology and make a small contribution. Tuesdays will also be a day when Bhutanese will walk for their health, experience the joy of walking with friends, family and colleagues, and promote community vitality.
In other words, Tuesdays will be a time to seize the day.
The government has also urged taxi drivers to keep off the road once a month using a rotating schedule of even and odd license numbers. Electric cars are still free to toodle around wherever and whenever they want, no doubt improving their popularity in this wonderfully odd little nation.
Top image: Sue McDonald /Shutterstock.com