According to a report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Dakota are the best states in the country to be an animal abuser.
The ALDF’s annual report is based on the comparative analysis of more than 3,800 pages of statutes and is the only one of its kind in the nation. It ranks all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for the general comprehensiveness and relative strength of their animal protection laws.
A few of the weaknesses were cited as restricted or non-existent felony animal cruelty provisions, inadequate animal fighting provisions and lack of restrictions on future ownership of animals for those previously convicted.
The single worst state in the nation this year, for the weakness of their animal cruelty laws, is Kentucky. However, this year’s top five states are identical to the 2008 list, with California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Oregon having the strictest animal cruelty laws.
One state that has dramatically improved their ratings from last year is Arkansas. Although it was ranked as one of the worst five states in 2008, this year it has jumped to 25th overall in the nation, due to extensive statutory improvements.
“This year we see many states and territories that are continuing to make outstanding progress with their laws, says Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report. “Unfortunately, there are still many places where the laws are incapable of providing the legal protections that our country’s animals need and deserve. Even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement.”
For a copy of the state rankings report and a free downloadable version of individual state’s animal cruelty laws, you can go to www.aldf.org.