Year-End Study Names 2010’s “Five Best States to be an Animal Abuser”

Posted on December 15, 2010

Animal Legal Defense Fund Releases Annual Report Ranking Animal Cruelty Laws Across the Nation

For immediate release

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund

San Francisco-Kentucky, North Dakota, Idaho, Mississippi and Iowa are the five best states in the country to be an animal abuser, according to a new report released today by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). Based on a detailed comparative analysis of more than 4,000 pages of statutes, tracking fourteen broad categories of provisions, the report recognizes the states where animal law has real teeth, and calls out those like Kentucky-the single worst in the nation for animal protection laws for the fourth year running-where animal abusers get off easy. ALDF’s fifth annual state rankings report, the longest-running and most authoritative report of its kind, ranks all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for the general comprehensiveness and relative strength of their respective animal protection laws.

2010 State Rankings Map

Why are these five states in the dog house when it comes to getting
tough on animal abuse? The legislative weaknesses seen in the states at
the bottom of the animal protection barrel include severely restricted
or absent felony animal cruelty provisions, inadequate animal fighting
provisions, and lack of restrictions on the future ownership of animals
for those convicted of cruelty to animals. On the other end of the
spectrum, this year’s “best five for animals” list remains unchanged
from 2009,
with Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon and California demonstrating
through their laws the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty;
for the fourth consecutive year, Illinois was the very best of the best
for the strength of its laws protecting animals. Alaska showed the most
improvement, moving from 44th last year to 37th overall this year. 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.

“While many states continue to make positive progress for animals, there
are, unfortunately, 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. Animals do not vote–but those who love
them do. We encourage lawmakers throughout the country to take heed and
commit to working to improve these critical laws.”

Download the full report and state rankings map here.

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