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100 years ago in Spokane: Even as prohibition gets stricter, woman wins permit to give whiskey to parrot

A woman was seeking a permit to allow her parrot to continue drinking whiskey, despite prohibition laws, The Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 25, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A woman was seeking a permit to allow her parrot to continue drinking whiskey, despite prohibition laws, The Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 25, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A Spokane woman had a creative excuse for needing a liquor permit.

“While I do not drink liquor myself, I fear my parrot will die if he cannot have whiskey when the state goes bone-dry,” said the woman.

She said the bird suffered serious attacks of illness at times and she feared it would succumb if not given its accustomed whiskey. She apparently received her permit.

This was the only person who said she needed the whiskey as a veterinary medicine, although many other applicants said they wanted the liquor permits for their own medicine chests.

The county auditor was facing a huge rush of liquor permits as people were trying to beat the advent of a new “bone-dry” law in the state. Washington already had a prohibition law, but there were several loopholes allowing people to get liquor permits for medical reasons or to bring in liquor from out of state. The bone-dry law would close those loopholes.

Meanwhile, a man described as an Austrian was asked if he was 21 years old. He said he had no record of his birth, but “understood” he was 21. When told he would go to jail if a birth record turned up showing him under 21, he decided to have his permit canceled.

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