2010 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings™

Posted on December 15, 2010

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announces the release of its new study that underscores the often-considerable differences that exist between the animal protection laws of the states and territories of the United States of America. ALDF’s fifth annual report, the longest-running and most authoritative report of its kind, ranked each jurisdiction on the relative strength and comprehensiveness of their current animal protection laws. The ranking was based on a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each jurisdiction, researching fourteen broad categories of provisions, throughout more than 4,000 pages of statutes. Each jurisdiction received a numerical ranking based upon its combined score and was grouped into a top, middle or bottom tier. The ranking also highlights the best five and worst five states overall.

For the third consecutive year, Illinois held the top spot alone in the rankings due to its wide array of animal protection laws. Alaska showed the most improvement, moving from 44th last year to 37th overall this year. Alaska’s improved ranking was due to enactment of stronger felony penalties and for criminalizing the sexual assault of animals. West Virginia, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Arizona all improved their standings due, in part, to the adoption of laws that allow animals to be included in domestic violence protective orders. Many other states moved up in this year’s report as well. Nevertheless, Kentucky, once again, had the infamous distinction of having the weakest laws in the nation–a position it has held since 2007.

“This study identifies what each state and territory is doing individually with respect to animal protection laws,” says Stephan Otto, ALDF’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report, “and we continue to see a wide range of disparity across the country. While many continue to make positive steps forward, others unfortunately are not. Yet irrespective of where each state and territory currently ranks in the report, everyone has ample room for improvement. It is our hope that these ongoing reviews continue to shed light on this important issue and garner support for both the strengthening and enforcement of animal protection laws throughout the country.”

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

2010 state rankings map

2010 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings

Comparing Overall Strength & Comprehensiveness


Best Five 1. Illinois, 2. Maine, 3. Michigan, 4. Oregon, 5. California
Worst Five 46. Iowa, 47. Mississippi, 48. Idaho, 49. North Dakota, 50. Kentucky
Top Tier 1. Illinois, 2. Maine, 3. Michigan, 4. Oregon, 5. California, 6. Kansas, 7. Indiana, 8. Tennessee, 9. West Virginia, 10. Vermont, 11. Minnesota, 12. Washington, 13. Massachusetts, 14. Rhode Island, 15. Colorado, 16. Virginia, 17. Nebraska, 18. Wisconsin, 19. Louisiana
Middle Tier 20. Delaware, 21. Oklahoma, 22. Florida, 23. District Of Columbia, 24. Puerto Rico, 25. New Hampshire, 26. Arkansas, 27. Virgin Islands, 28. Nevada, 29. Ohio, 30. Arizona, 31. North Carolina, 32. Missouri, 33. New York, 34. Texas, 35. Connecticut, 36. Georgia, 37. Utah, 38. South Carolina
Bottom Tier 39. Alaska, 40. Montana, 41. Pennsylvania, 42. Wyoming, 43. Maryland, 44. Alabama, 45. New Mexico, 46. Hawaii, 47. New Jersey, 48. South Dakota, 49. Iowa, 50. Mississippi, 51. Idaho, 52. Guam, 53. North Dakota, 54. Kentucky, 55. Northern Mariana Islands, 56. American Samoa

Note: The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and other territories are included in this report and are italicized. The Best Five and Worst Five categories are limited to states.

2010 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

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