Under vague laws, bees are fish and cats are dogs

By Dr Bibek Debroy:

There is an anecdote about Lord Byron from his days as a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the first decade of the 19th century. Byron wanted to take his pet dog along. At the time, the college statutes didn’t allow dogs on the college premises. However, there was no such prohibition against bears, presumably because no one had contemplated such an eventuality. Hence, in protest, as long as Byron was there, he kept a tame bear as a pet. For years, Tony Weir, Fellow of Trinity College, taught law in Cambridge. He was a celebrated teacher, specialising in tort law. Any lawyer worth his salt will know about the Donoghue versus Stevenson case. Weir possessed two cats, appropriately named Donoghue and Stevenson. By then, Trinity College’s bye-laws must have changed from Byron’s days and dogs must have been allowed on the premises. The folklore was that Trinity College’s powers-that-be decreed these cats would henceforth be known as dogs, to comply with the letter of the law. Selwyn College, Cambridge, had a converse problem, since Roger Mosey, the Master, possessed a basset hound and Selwyn allowed cats, but no dogs. Therefore, the college decreed that the basset hound would henceforth be known as a very large cat.

Read the full article here: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/bibek-debroy-writes-vague-laws-bees-are-fish-cats-are-dogs-lord-byron-endangered-species-7959676/