Humane Society Ranks States’ Animal Welfare Laws

California, Massachusetts, and Illinois lead the nation in animal-protection statutes, while other states lack adequate legislation.


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The Humane Society of the United States recently released its annual “Humane State Ranking” report, which grades each state on its animal-welfare laws. California ruled the hound-hunting of bobcats and bears illegal earlier this year, garnering the top position for the fourth consecutive time. Massachusetts tied for second place due to its ban on euthanasia gas chambers along with its statute that allows animals to be included in domestic-violence protection orders. Illinois also took second place, followed by Oregon in fourth, and New Jersey and Maine tied for fifth. South Dakota and North Dakota were poorly ranked because they lack felony punishments for animal-cruelty acts. Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, notes, “Animal protection matters to Americans, and our laws must line up with our values.”

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