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Kentucky "Top State to Be an Animal Abuser"

Kentucky, Iowa, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Wyoming are 2013’s five best states to abuse animals, according to the latest report released by the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

Following a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws, ALDF has released a year-end report ranking all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories for the general comprehensiveness and relative strength of their respective animal protection laws. The report analyzes more than 4,000 pages of statutes, tracks fifteen broad categories of provisions, and reveals the states where animal law has real teeth—and calls out those, like Kentucky (the single worst state in the nation for animal protection laws, for the seventh year in a row, according to the report) where animal abusers get off easy. ALDF’s eighth annual state rankings report is the longest-running and most authoritative report of its kind, according to a news release.

The report cites Kentucky's lack of felony provisions for neglect or abandonment, mental health evaluations or counseling for offenders, and no restrictions on future animal ownership for offenders, among other citations.

On the other end of the spectrum, this year’s “best five states for animals” list includes Illinois, Oregon, Michigan, Maine, and California, who demonstrated the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty through their laws, according to the report.

For the sixth consecutive year, Illinois was the very best of the best for the strength of its laws protecting animals. The states with the biggest changes include North Dakota, which added, for the first time, felony penalties for cases involving extreme animal cruelty or torture. Arizona was the most improved state this year, and was one of six states that strengthened its cost of care provisions. Other state improvements include adding felony penalties for animal neglect.

ALDF released its first rankings report in 2006; since then more than half of all states and territories have made a significant improvement in their animal protection laws. Yet there remains room for growth in every jurisdiction. “Each state and territory has plenty of room for improvement,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for ALDF. “We hope lawmakers recognize the need for serious progress in animal protection laws across the nation. Animals don’t vote, but those who advocate for animal protection do.”

View the full report: Click Here (PDF)