Monday, March 20, 2006

Ranking of all Fifty States and the District of Columbia for the Comprehensiveness and Relative Strength of their Respective Animal Protection Laws

A truly amazing endeavor from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Very helpful for future research.

You will find the report with representative graphics here: http://www.aldf.org/state_rankings.asp

You can download the report in PDF version here: http://www.aldf.org/st_rankings_report_06.pdf


Quick synopsis. From the report at http://www.aldf.org/state_rankings.asp

“Every state today has laws protecting animals from cruelty and neglect; however some states have better laws than others. Following a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each state in the country, researching over two thousand pages of statutes and tracking more than thirty different categories of provisions, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has produced a first-of-its-kind report – a ranking of all fifty states and the District of Columbia for the general comprehensiveness and relative strength of their respective animal protection laws. This ranking groups states into top, middle or bottom tiers, and also includes a listing of the five states with the best laws and the five with the worst laws.

“Each state has room for improvement in the various ways its laws protect animals,” says Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund's Director of Legislative Affairs and producer of the rankings, “however, it is undeniable that some states do have stronger, more extensive laws than others.” “We hope this report encourages states, especially those at the lower end of the ranking, to refocus their attention on this problem and work harder at improving their laws.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund plans to release these rankings on an annual basis. Please contact your state legislators and encourage them to support improvements to the laws that protect animals. For additional information, visit the Laws & Legislation section on our website.”

Download this report (PDF) - http://www.aldf.org/st_rankings_report_06.pdf

2006 State Animal Protection Laws Rankings

Best Laws California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon

Worst Laws Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota, Utah

Top Tier California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Vermont, Virginia

Middle Tier Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee

Bottom Tier Alaska, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming

Overview: Why These States Made the “Worst Laws” List
Hawaii

* No felony animal cruelty provision
* Inadequate range of prohibitions and definitions/standards of basic care
* No mental health evaluations or counseling on conviction
* No cost mitigation provisions for impounded animals (e.g. cost-of-care bonds, other reimbursement of costs, restitution or lien provisions)
* Inadequate provisions for forfeiture of abused animals
* No restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals following a conviction
* No separate crime for the sexual assault of an animal

Idaho

* No felony animal cruelty provision
* Inadequate definitions/standards of basic care
* No mental health evaluations or counseling on conviction
* Inadequate cost mitigation provisions for impounded animals (e.g. cost-of-care bonds, reimbursement of costs, restitution)
* No forfeiture of abused animals
* No restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals following a conviction

Kentucky

* Inadequate range of prohibitions and definitions/standards of basic care
* Principal protections apply only to select types of animals
* Felony provision available only for select repeat offenses involving only select animals
* No mental health evaluations or counseling following a conviction
* No cost mitigation provisions for impounded animals (e.g. cost-of-care bonds, other reimbursement of costs, restitution provisions)
* No forfeiture of abused animals
* No restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals following a conviction
* No separate crime for the sexual assault of an animal

North Dakota

* No felony animal cruelty provision
* Inadequate definitions/standards of basic care
* No mental health evaluations or counseling on conviction
* Inadequate cost mitigation provisions for impounded animals (e.g. cost-of-care bonds, other reimbursement of costs, restitution provisions)
* No forfeiture of abused animals
* No restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals following a conviction
* No humane agents with limited or same powers as peace officers

Utah

* No felony animal cruelty provision
* Inadequate definitions/standards of basic care
* Principal protections apply only to select types of animals
* No mental health evaluations
* Inadequate cost mitigation provisions for impounded animals (e.g. cost-of-care bonds, other reimbursement of costs, restitution provisions)
* No forfeiture of abused animals
* No restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals following a conviction
* No humane agents with limited or same powers as peace officers

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