The Animal Legal Defense Fund released its fourth annual report about animal abuse. The report ranks the strength of animal protection laws in every state and U.S. territory.
This year the five states with the least amount of protection for animals are: Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota. Kentucky ranked as the number one worst state in the nation – where animal abusers received the lightest convictions.
The top five states with the most stringent sentencing for abusers and the toughest laws to protect animals were: Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon and California.
Stephen Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund director of legislative affairs, was pleased with the progress that a number of states have made in 2009. “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,” Otto said.
“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 protection that our country’s animals need and deserve,” stated Otto.
He continued by reminding states, “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.”
The Animal Protection Report ranks states in three tiers – Top, Middle and Bottom. See where your state stands on protecting animals from abuse.
Top Tier: CA, CO, DE, IL, IN, KS, ME, MA, MI, MN, NE, OR, RI, TN, WA, WV, WI, VT and VA.
Middle Tier: AZ, AR, CT, DC, FL, GA, LA, MO, MT, NH, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, Puerto Rico, SC, UT and Virgin Islands.
Bottom Tier: AL, AK, American Samoa, Guam, HI, ID, IA, KY, MD, MS, NV, NJ, NM, ND, Northern Mariana Islands, SD, TX and WY.
Animal Legal Defense Fund