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

San Francisco, Calif. – Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Utah 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 2800 pages of statutes, tracking fourteen distinct categories of provisions, the report recognizes the states where laws protecting animals have real teeth, and calls out those like Kentucky–the single worst in the nation this year for animal protection laws–where animal abusers get off easy. The annual report, the only one of its kind in the nation, ranks all fifty states and the District of Columbia for the general comprehensiveness and relative strength of their respective animal protection laws.

Why are these five states in the dog house when it comes to getting tough on animal abusers? 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. Many state laws have improved since ALDF’s first state rankings report was released in 2006; since then, Hawaii and Idaho have seen progressive enough change to be bumped out of the bottom 10 percent by Alaska and Arkansas–newcomers to the “five best states to be an abuser” list. On the other end of the spectrum, this year’s “best five for animals” list remains unchanged from the 2006 list, with California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Oregon demonstrating through their laws the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty.

“We saw some significant gains by a number of states this year. However, there are still important areas for improvement in every state’s laws, even for those states currently ranked in the top tier,” says Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report. “It is our hope that this report will help draw attention both to the states who are leading the country with their strong animal protection laws, as well as to those states like Kentucky and the others at the lower end of the rankings – states with laws that are plainly incapable of adequately protecting animals. Animals do not vote, but those who love and care about them do, so we encourage lawmakers to take notice and work on improving these vital laws.”

To get all the details as well as download the full report, visit ALDF.

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