2008 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings™

Posted on December 16, 2008

The Animal Legal Defense Fund announces the release of its annual report ranking the animal protection laws of every state based on their relative strength and general comprehensiveness. In addition to all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories are included this year. This report – the only one of its kind in the nation – is based on a detailed comparative analysis of each jurisdiction, researching fourteen distinct categories of animal protection laws throughout more than 3,400 pages of statutes. The ranking groups each jurisdiction into a top, middle or bottom tier, and includes a listing of the best five and worst five states.

“This year we see many states and territories that are continuing to make outstanding progress with their laws. Unfortunately, there are still many places where the laws are incapable of providing the legal protections that our country’s animals need and deserve,” says Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report. “Even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement. Especially important during our country’s current recession are laws that help to save limited community resources by reducing the costs of caring for abused animals and ensuring that those who are responsible for such crimes shoulder this burden instead of taxpayers and private interests. While animals certainly do not vote, those who love and care about them do, so we encourage lawmakers throughout the country to take heed and commit to working to improve these critical laws.”

Please contact your elected officials and encourage them to support improvements to the laws that protect animals. For additional information, see our Model Animal Protection Laws collection and Animal Protection Laws of the USA & Canada compendium.

>> Download the full report (PDF)

>> Download the state rankings map

2008 state rankings map

2008 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings

Comparing Overall Strength & Comprehensiveness


Best Five California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon
Worst Five Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota
Top Tier California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia
Middle Tier Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah
Bottom Tier Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, South Dakota, Wyoming

2008 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Maps

PDF, Black & White | Download Map
PDF, Color | Download Map
JPG, Black & White, 150 dpi | Download Map
JPG, Color, 150dpi | Download Map

Annual Animal Protection Laws Rankings Reports

United States: 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | Current
Canada: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012



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