For 12 years in a row, Kentucky was ranked last as the worst state for animal protection laws. Mississippi, which last year ranked 49th, has now dropped to last place. We still have a long way to go before animals are afforded the protections they deserve.

Zoonar/Erik Lam

All you have to do is visit the Daviess County Animal Shelter and take a look at the  many animals that have been dropped off. Many have been abandoned and abused, which is why we need to do a MUCH better job protecting these animals. See something, say something.

According to the annual U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report published by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Kentucky rose to 47th place this year due to its new law criminalizing the sexual abuse of animals. Kentucky’s new law has extensive sentencing provisions, requiring convicted offenders to undergo mental health evaluation and treatment, and prohibiting offenders from owning or possessing an animal for at least five years.

But, how is it possible that Kentucky remains the only state that prohibits veterinarians from reporting suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or fighting? We indeed have a long way to go.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s annual ranking report highlights the disparity in our animal protection laws from state to state,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Few people know what animal protections laws exist in their state, and can be very surprised when tragedy strikes — and an animal is hurt or killed — and there are no laws to ensure justice for that animal.”

The full report, including details about each state, is available at www.aldf.org/staterankings

If you witness animal abuse or neglect, report it and give animals a fighting chance at the love and the life they deserve. Be sure to call your local animal control agency as soon as possible or dial 9-1-1. They will be required to investigate your report.

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