2009 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings™

Posted on December 16, 2009

The Animal Legal Defense Fund announces the release of its fourth annual report ranking the animal protection laws of every state and territory of the U.S.A. based on their relative strength and general comprehensiveness. This report – the only one of its kind – encompasses more than 3,800 pages of statutes, and is based on a detailed comparative analysis of each jurisdiction in which fourteen distinct categories of animal protection laws were researched. The ranking groups each jurisdiction into a top, middle or bottom tier, and includes a listing of the best five and worst five states.

“Many states and territories are continuing to make substantial progress with their animal protection laws. Arkansas, for example, was one of the worst five states last year, but jumped up to 25th overall in the country this year, due to a host of statutory improvements. Washington, D.C. and Indiana, among others, also made significant advances. 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. “Yet even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement. 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

2009 state rankings map

2009 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings

Comparing Overall Strength & Comprehensiveness


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

2009 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Maps

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

Annual Animal Protection Laws Rankings Reports

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

Be a Partner in Protection!

Donate monthly to help animals.

or make a one-time gift »

ALDF's Online Store

Help fund our lifesaving work!


Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.

Join Us

Follow ALDF on these networks:

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.