The Majority of pet owners love their pets and treat them like part of the family. However there are plenty of people out in the world who are awful to animals. Different countries and even different states here in the U.S. have different laws when it comes to animals and cruelty against them. As it turns out Idaho is pretty lax in that category, which if you ask me is atrocious. Many states make it a priority to ensure animals are safe in their homes, while others are less concerned about animal safety.

24/7 Tempo gathered information from various reporting agencies siting the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s “2019 U.S. Animal Protection Laws State Rankings.” The ALDF evaluated state animal protection laws, including the penalties for animal abuse, reporting requirements, offender registration laws, general prohibitions such as prohibition of animal fighting, among other issues. They also took into account pet ownership per capita and incidents of animal cruelty by state from the FBI National Incident-Based Reporting System.

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I surprised and not very happy about where Idaho placed. We were the 6th worst state in the U.S. Here is why...

  •  Maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 3 years prison and/or $5,000 fine
  • Animals may NOT be included in domestic violence protective orders. In many states they are included.
  • There are NO mandatory reporting by veterinarian laws in place. In most states there are.
  • Idaho is one of just two states in which animal cruelty is NOT prosecuted as a felony.
  • Neglect and abandonment of pets are also misdemeanors in the state.

Interestingly enough even though our laws do not do much to protect the animals, Idaho ranked the 9th highest for the percent of households that own a pet.

The state with the most animal protection and best for animals is Illinois, who have taken the top spot 12 years in a row. With maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 5 years imprisonment and $25,000 fine. Animals ARE included in domestic violence protective orders. They DO have Mandatory reporting by veterinarians.

Our neighboring state Oregon was just below Illinois as the 2nd BEST state for animals. With Maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 5 years imprisonment and/or $125,000 fine.

Who was the worst state of all? Mississippi. Along with Idaho it is the only other state in which animal cruelty is not a felony. The state also has no felony penalties for animal neglect or abandonment, and courts cannot restrict animal ownership for a Mississippi resident convicted of these types of crimes.

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