ALDFALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) recently complied a report showing where the US states and territories rank based on their animal protection laws including the top and bottom five states.  It’s quite an eye opener as it details specific strengths and weaknesses.  It’s broken down into tiers; top, middle and bottom.  Where does your state stand?

Taken from the report (which you can download HERE), this is how ALDF compiled the ranking;

The fifty?six jurisdictions included in the 2009 STATE ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS RANKINGS report were numerically ranked based on their cumulative scores to thirty?eight study questions covering fourteen distinct animal protection laws categories. The report analyzed enacted laws only and did not review the separate issue of how these laws are enforced. Answers to the study questions were based primarily on the statutory data contained in the 3,800+ page compendium ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS OF THE USA & CANADA (FIFTH EDITION).* The study questions were close?ended and the choices exhaustive and mutually exclusive. The questions were limited to the following categories:

1. General prohibitions
2. Penalties
3. Exemptions
4. Mental health evaluations & counseling
5. Protective orders
6. Cost mitigation & recovery
7. Seizure/impound
8. Forfeiture and post?conviction possession
9. Non?animal agency reporting of suspected animal cruelty
10. Veterinarian reporting of suspected animal cruelty
11. Law enforcement policies
12. Sexual assault
13. Fighting
14. Offender registration

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

Top Five Best
1. Illinois
2. Maine
3. Michigan
4. Oregon
5. California

Bottom Five Worst
1. Kentucky
2. North Dakota
3. Hawaii
4. Idaho
5. Mississippi

“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 take a moment to download the report HERE (right-click and save to your computer) then take action!  The report lists the strengths and weaknesses of each state and even the top five have weaknesses.  Then find out your state’s legislators – HERE – and start writing, calling and emailing!! Time to stop whining and complaining about the problems and time to start making a difference, take action!

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