For ten years, ALDF has released the Rankings Report, the longest-running report of it’s kind, to track animal protection across the 50 states. Rankings are based on a comprehensive review of each jurisdiction’s animal protection laws including over 4,000 pages of statutes.
Joining Kentucky at the bottom for 2015 are Iowa (49), Wyoming (48), Utah (47), and North Dakota (46). The top five—leading the nation in animal protection laws—include: Illinois (1), Oregon (2), Maine (3), California (4), and Michigan (5).
The report cites a number of reasons for Kentucky’s low ranking, noting that in the state felony provisions are available only for cruelty and fighting, both against only select animals. There are no felony provisions for neglect or abandonment, no mental health evaluations or counseling for offenders, and no restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals following a conviction. Kentucky’s laws do not include statutory authority for protective orders to include animals. Additionally, veterinarians are prohibited from reporting suspected cruelty or fighting—the only state to do so.
A study of the past five years of ALDF’s Ranking Reports shows more than three quarters of all states and territories have significantly improved their animal protection laws. The newest report reveals an encouraging trend toward legislation allowing animals to be included in protective orders. These laws are absent from most bottom-ranking states, including Kentucky.
The full report, including details about each state, is available at www.aldf.org. ALDF’s complete “Animal Protection Laws of the U.S.A. and Canada” compendium, on which the report is based, is available at aldf.org/compendium.