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The five best states to be an animal abuser


Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota are the five best states in the country to be an animal abuser — making them the five worst states in which to be an animal.

Based on an analysis of more than 3,800 pages of statutes, a new report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund recognizes the states where animal law has real teeth, and calls out those like Kentucky – the single worst in the nation again this year for animal protection laws – where animal abusers get off the easiest.

The annual report, the only one of its kind in the nation, ranks all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for the comprehensiveness and  strength of their animal protection laws. Maryland falls in the bottom 15 states.

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 last state rankings report was released in 2008; Arkansas, for example, was one of the worst five states last year, but jumped up to 25th overall in the country in 2009 due to a host of statutory improvements.

On the other end of the spectrum, this year’s “best five for animals” list remains unchanged from the 2008 list, with California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Oregon demonstrating through their laws the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty; Illinois was ranked the best for the strength of its laws protecting animals.

“This year we see many states and territories that are continuing to make outstanding progress with their laws. 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.

“Even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement. Especially important during our country’s current recession are laws that help to save limited community resources by reducing the costs of caring for abused animals and ensuring that those who are responsible for such crimes shoulder this burden instead of taxpayers and private interests. While animals do not vote, those who love and care about them certainly do, so we encourage lawmakers throughout the country to take heed and commit to working to improve these critical laws.”

ALDF was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, including a copy of the state rankings report, visit www.aldf.org.


Comment from Miss Jan
Time December 17, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I especially note KENTUCKY because the horse neglect abuse in this state which advertises itself as THE horse state is absolutely rampant. Not only is there zero prosecution there is not even investigation and seizure EXCEPT where the County honchos can see a benefit to themselves in it. Particularly right now in Nelson County where an actual County Magistrate is not being arrested, not being charged, nor his horses being seized even though the local news is all over it and many photos and videos have been posted on the internet. This same type of thing happens all over Kentucky and includes puppy mills and hoarders. Investigation, appropriate charges and appropriate prosecution simply don’t happen often and if they do, punishment for those convicted is scanty and cursory.

Comment from Jenifer
Time December 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I would like to point out that the laws are only as good as those who are being paid to uphold them. Including my home state, many states have law enforcement officials who could not be less interested in enforcing anti-cruelty laws. And they have a million creative and not-so-creative excuses why they are slacking and in some instances (and I speak from personal experience) “disappear” the complaints made against abusers.