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NEW: Massachusetts Named #15 Best in US For Animal Protection Laws

Thursday, January 03, 2013

 

The latest ranking of states by the Animal Legal Defense Fund places Massachusetts at #15.

Massachusetts takes reasonably good care of its animals, having just been named the #15 Best State in the US for Animal Protection Laws, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund in its 2012 report.

Illinois was ranked the best state for animal protection for the 4th year in a row, according to the organization. Rounding out the Top 5 in the US were Maine at #2, California at #3, Michigan at #4, and Oregon at #5.

On the other end of the spectrum, the worst states for animals' rights were New Mexico at #46, South Dakota at #47, Iowa at #48, North Dakota at #49, and at the very bottom of the list, Kentucky at #50.

How They Got The Rankings

In total, 56 jurisdictions were assessed and ranked based on each state's (as well as the District of Columbia and US territories') cumulative scores to 42 study questions covering 15 distinct animal protection laws categories.

The report analyzed enacted laws only and did not review the separate issue of how these laws are enforced. The questions were limited to the following categories:
1. General prohibitions
2. Penalties
3. Exemptions
4. Mental health evaluations & counseling 5. Protective orders
6. Cost mitigation & recovery
7. Seizure/impoundment
8. Forfeiture and post‐conviction possession
9. Non‐animal agency reporting of suspected animal cruelty 10. Veterinarian reporting of suspected animal cruelty
11. Law enforcement policies
12. Sexual assault
13. Fighting
14. Offender registration
15. “Ag gag” legislation

National trends for 2012

The “Best Five” states remained the same in 2012 for the fifth consecutive year (in different orders), with Illinois holding strong as the top jurisdiction for animal protection. California rose from #5 to #3, in part, by strengthening its forfeiture and seizure laws this year, ensuring that fewer animals unnecessarily languish in cages during the disposition of criminal cases—at shelter expense—and do not return to their abusers. Idaho was the most‐improved jurisdiction in 2012, jumping 8 places in rank and elevating out of the notorious “Worst Five” tier, in part, by enacting its first felony provisions for cruelty, neglect, abandonment and cockfighting.

(Mississippi received a similar boost in rank in 2011 for passing its first felony laws.) North and South Dakota now remain the only jurisdictions without felony penalties for animal abusers, contributing to these states’ longtime positions in the “Worst Five” tier. For the sixth year in a row, Kentucky ranked the weakest state for animal protection.

For more information, go to aldf.org for additional information, including the ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS OF THE USA & CANADA (SEVENTH EDITION). Contact legislation@aldf.org for any report‐related questions or comments.

 

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