2011 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings
"For the fourth consecutive year, Illinois held the top spot alone in the rankings due to its wide array of animal protection laws. Mississippi showed the most improvement, moving from 50th – and one of the Worst Five states – last year to 30th overall this year. Mississippi’s improved ranking was due partly to its enactment of a felony penalty for repeated cruelty and neglect (three states – Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota – do not have any felony penalties for animal abuse) and for authorizing mental health evaluations and counseling for offenders. Guam showed the second best improvement, moving up eighteen spots to 34th in the nation. Arkansas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Oregon and Texas all improved their scores, in part, from new laws that allow animals to be included in domestic violence protective orders. California, Maryland, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Washington added or strengthened laws restricting access to animals following an animal abuse conviction. Many other states moved up in this year’s report as well. Kentucky, once again, had the notorious distinction of having the weakest laws of any state in the nation—a position it has held for the past five years."
- Six jurisdictions added – for the first time – felony penalties for cases involving extreme animal cruelty or torture: Alaska, Arkansas, Guam, Hawaii, Mississippi, Utah
- Six strengthened their existing felony animal cruelty laws: Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Puerto Rico
- Eight added felonies for repeated or aggravated animal neglect: Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Puerto Rico
- Six jurisdictions made repeated abandonment, or abandonment that results in the death or serious injury of an animal, a felony: Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Puerto Rico
- Three added felonies for the sexual assault of an animal: Alaska, Puerto Rico, Tennessee
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