Animal Legal Defense Fund Releases Ranking of State Animal Protection Laws
Earlier this year the Animal Legal Defense Fund released a 3-page report ranking all fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia based on the strength and comprehensiveness of their state anti-cruelty laws.
Although ALDF makes it clear that all the states’ laws need to be strengthened, the states that ranked best were California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Oregon, while those that ranked worst were Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota and Utah.
The latter five states fell into the worst category because, among other things, they either did not have any felony anti-cruelty provisions or because, in the case of Kentucky, felony provisions applied only to select situations.
ALDF also provides a list of Jurisdictions with Felony Animal Abuse Provisions and the year of enactment.
By way of quick definition, a felony is “a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison… [or] a crime carrying a minimum term of one year or more in state prison,” [note: given the legal status of animals, whether wild or designated as “property,” the death penalty has never been, not is unlikely ever to be, imposed in any animal cruelty case], while a misdemeanor is “a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year… [and]are tried in the lowest local court such as municipal, police or justice courts.”