All 50 States Now Have Felony Animal Cruelty Provisions!

Posted by Chris Berry, ALDF Litigation Fellow on March 14, 2014

On March 14, 2014, South Dakota became the final state to enact a felony provision for animal cruelty.

The new law represents the emergence of a nationwide consensus that egregious animal abuse should be treated as a serious crime. Although there is much more work left to be done, this event marks a significant milestone in an undeniable trend favoring humane treatment of animals.

20 thoughts on “All 50 States Now Have Felony Animal Cruelty Provisions!

  1. Laura Menighetti says:


  2. Reneda Baer says:

    AWESOME! It’s about time. It’s been too long in coming for the animals in harm’s way. But this finally coming to pass is an amazing step for animal welfare. A round of applause for all those who worked so hard to make this happen and those courageous enough to pass it!! THANK YOU ALL!

  3. Tamara Forsee Bacon says:


  4. Robynne Catheron says:

    This is a big step in the right direction! Now, if will be enforced by not only the authorities but by judges who too frequently let offenders off with probation or similar slaps on the hand. We know for a fact that animal abuse is linked to domestic abuse, and it needs to be nipped in the bud the first time, every time.
    But for now, WELL DONE!

    1. Heidi says:

      Exactly… I know what your saying, City and County Officals need to be aware of these laws, and animal control officers need to be brought in to learn it. Not only that but City & County ordinances need updated in many of these smaller towns in many counties, most of these animal ordinances are from the late 80/90s and that’s updated… Trust me check out some of the stuff it will amaze all when you read them so many animals have no rights cause changes haven’t been brought up enough in the City and County meetings, you gotta bring a army with to get changes made, it’s frustrating.

      1. Barb says:

        I AGREE WHIT YOU!!

  5. Having laws against animal cruelty are nice, but they need to be enforced. New York State has a provision in the state agricultural law making it a crime to deprive any animal, domestic, feral, or wild, of food, water or shelter. So when the super of a local housing complex went off property to remove a shelter I had purchased I called the police. After speaking to the culprit, I was threatened with arrest–while he removed the replacement shelter in front of the police and me!
    Subsequently his assistant has spread salt on food put out for the local cat colony, and went off property to remove three trays of food I had put out. He has also threatened cats with a hose.
    So, as I said, laws are nice, and make those who engage in lobbying feel like they have accomplished something, but if police won’t enforce them, and the District Attorney just refers you to the police, all that lobbying is a waste of time and money.

  6. Mary says:

    It is about time!!!

  7. Karri Henning says:

    This is definitely a step in the right direction. But, the laws must be enforced to the fullest. Iowa is unbelievably weak on animal protection. Stronger laws are needed in Iowa plus enforcement of them must be demanded. Leadership is so fearful of the powerful farm lobby that laws to protect animals are minimal to alleviate the chance that they could affect company/factory farms. I love Iowa, but hate this.

  8. Mario says:

    Excellent work but there’s always more to do. Let’s get to it.

  9. Janet Stafford says:

    I am so happy to hear this is finally a reality for all states. I only hope that with time, the penalties for the cruelty will be much stiffer than is currently given for the “murder” of an innocent life. prison time needs to be maximized to the extent that they will stop and think twice before hurting an animal when facing a true time behind bars.

  10. Jo Ardell says:

    Cruelty and Tortures of Animals is a serious
    Crime. Those who victimize Innocent Animals, Must be Severely Punished, the Laws Must be Strong, and Enforced. Animals Deserve Better, and time is long overdue, for Felony Animal
    Abuse Laws, but this is a step in the right direction, 50 states. Bestiality, also needs to be included. I’ve been reading too much of this, and also, police officers, shooting
    families, Dogs.



  12. This is all “wonderful” to hear. I just hope they really do take the appropriate actions against these criminals. This is the lowest form of cruelty I can imagine . Thank God something is finally being done about this. I’ve been working for years to get this law passed this is abuse and should be treated as such put these criminals away where they belong. What great day for me to see action is finally being taken. Thank you Jesus!

  13. Finally the proper action is being taken on these criminals. I’ve been working for years to get this law passed. Thank you jesus. Hope brings faith, Faith brings justice. We all have be fighting this fight and we finally got justice.These people need to be treated as anyone eles who commits abuse and do the time they deserve instead of a slap on the hand and probation this is a very happy day for me and may others.THANK GOD!

  14. Mary Pachas says:

    Animals are the true innocents in this world.To all who worked so long and hard to enact this milestone,may you be blessed beyond measure.
    Now,more work is necessary. These felony provisions must be ENFORCED!
    Police,prosecutors,courts must be made to follow-through.
    But yes,this is a huge,meaningful step.

  15. Isabelle Conner says:

    Thank God, we are making head way

  16. s c says:

    Wondering if in Texas animal abuse is regarded a felony yet?

  17. Robin says:

    Idaho’s felony provision kicks in only after the 3rd charge over several (15?) years. See
    Furthermore, Idaho recently passed the “ag gag” law making it a felony to expose animal cruelty at commercial sites, punishable by prison time and a hefty fine. In other words, the whistleblower is punished. See

  18. Lynda says:

    Why I think this is some progress. The biggest law we need now is it’s a felony to all those that don’t enforce this law. ( hundreds of officials in every state are guilty of this). That should be the new law!

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