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5 States With the Weakest Animal-Cruelty Laws

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

Which states have the worst animal protection laws? The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has ranked each state's laws in terms of toughness, and once again Kentucky took the title of the worst state for animal rights.

ALDF's 2012 report took a look at state laws that protect animals from cruelty, sexual assault (yes, sexual assault), neglect, and other forms of abuse, reports The Huffington Post.

Along with Kentucky, here's a look at the five worst states in the country for animal abuse laws, and just what makes their laws so bad according to ALDF:

  1. Kentucky. The state famous for horse racing tops this list for the sixth year in a row. Kentucky has felony provisions available only for animal cruelty and fighting for select animals. The state provides inadequate definitions and standards of basic care, ALDF says. There are also no felony provisions for animal neglect, abandonment, or sexual assault, and no court-ordered forfeiture provisions.

  2. North Dakota. Similar to Kentucky, North Dakota has no felony provisions for animal neglect, abandonment, or sexual assault. The state also does not provide increased penalties for repeat offenders and crimes involving multiple animals.

  3. Iowa. The state's felony provisions apply only to cruelty against select animals and for fighting. The state also has no laws providing for mandatory forfeiture of animals upon conviction, according to ALDF. So someone convicted of beating an animal he owned could conceivably keep custody of the animal.

  4. South Dakota. Veterinarians are not required to report suspected animal abuse. Unbelievably, police officers also have no duty to enforce animal protection laws, ALDF reports.

  5. New Mexico. Humane officers in this state lack broad law enforcement authority. Also, even after someone is convicted of an animal abuse charge, the state has no restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals.

You can learn more about the animal rights laws in these five worst states by reviewing the ALDF's study. You can also take a look at the study to see what other states are doing right in regards to fighting animal abuse.

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