COLUMBUS – Ohio stepped up a notch in an annual ranking of states with the best policies protecting animals. The report from the Animal League Defense Fund highlights which of the 50 states are serious about animal welfare.
Staff attorney with the Criminal Justice Program Lora Dunn says Ohio moved from 28th to 27th this year, partly because of legislation including animals in protective orders in cases of domestic violence.
“That’s really significant because in many of those cases the human victims who are being abused do not leave out of fear for their animals,” says Dunn. “So Ohio stands out by having a law that allows protective orders to include animals.”
In addition, she notes, a court may order a convicted abuser to forfeit an abused animal upon conviction. Policies in Ohio also prohibit animal fighting, cruelty, and abandonment. Illinois ranked first for the eighth year in a row, and Kentucky remained the worst state for the ninth consecutive year.
Dunn contends all states, even those at the top, have room for improvement and she hopes the rankings will inspire continued progress.
“We’ve seen every state throughout the years improve their animal protection laws,” says Dunn. “If there’s something that you believe is missing in your state in regards to animal protection laws we encourage folks to really get involved and make a change for the animals.”
She adds that over the past five years, more than three quarters of the states have significantly improved their animal protection laws.