Laws in favor of reporting of animal cruelty
2021 U.S. Animal Protection Laws State Rankings
Social Service Worker Reporting of Animal Cruelty
Veterinary Reporting of Animal Cruelty
This year, a new trend was the creation and strengthening of cross reporting laws and veterinary reporting laws. Cross-reporting refers to laws which explicitly permit or require cross-reporting between various animal and human welfare organizations, such as requiring humane officers to report suspected child abuse, or requiring elder protective service workers to report suspected animal cruelty. These laws recognize and respond to the link between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence.
In 2021, Florida, Ohio, and Guam all enacted comprehensive cross-reporting laws. Florida and Ohio both now require social service workers to report suspected animal cruelty—a requirement which historically has been rare. Veterinary reporting, as the name suggests, refers to laws requiring veterinarians to report suspected cruelty, and/or giving them civil immunity for reporting in good faith. In 2021, Hawaii made it mandatory for veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty, while New York and Ohio passed laws requiring veterinarians to report suspected cruelty to companion animals.
Animal victims can’t speak for themselves, so it’s absolutely vital that those frontline workers who are most likely to witness animal cruelty in the community — like veterinarians and social service workers — are not only empowered, but required to report animal cruelty to the authorities,” says Lora Dunn, Director of the Criminal Justice Program. “We’re thrilled to see more states taking the important step of not just allowing, but mandating that these stakeholders report animal abuse and neglect, for the sake of the animal victims.