2012’s Best New State Laws for Animals

Friday, December 28, 2012 - 11:00am
Orange ASPCA map of United States

Guest blog by Ann Church, Vice President of State Affairs, ASPCA Government Relations

Thanks to the support of animal advocates like you, the ASPCA’s Government Relations team was able to expand greatly this year, increasing our ability to fight for better laws for animals in all 50 states. As 2012 draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on some of this year’s legislative accomplishments on behalf of animals. Here is a small sampling of state-level victories that the ASPCA and our mighty Advocacy Brigade helped secure in 2012:

California—“Hounding” of Wildlife
California has banned hounding, a form of trophy hunting in which radio-collared dogs are released in forests to chase and tree bears and bobcats.

Idaho—Felony Cruelty
2012 will be remembered as the year that Idaho, a long-time holdout, finally enacted a law making animal torture a felony offense. The state made cockfighting a felony as well.

Massachusetts—Animal Control Reform
Among other achievements, this far-reaching, comprehensive new law creates a statewide spay/neuter program, prohibits breed-specific legislation, places restrictions on outdoor tethering, and allows pets to be included in domestic violence-related protection orders.

New Jersey—Horse Slaughter
New Jersey banned the slaughter of horses for human consumption as well as their transport through the state—a very meaningful provision, given the continued problem of export of horses over the border for slaughter.

Ohio—Exotic Pet Ownership and Puppy Mill Regulations
Ohio’s Dangerous Wild Animal Act passed seven months after 56 exotic animals were released by their owner. (Most were killed.) Ohio was one of only a handful of states with virtually no regulations on wild/exotic animal pet ownership. In addition, the state passed its first-ever puppy mill law, which sets standards of care and requires annual inspections.

Tennessee—Felony Cruelty to Livestock
While most states exempt farm animals from their animal cruelty statues, Tennessee became one of the first to make extreme acts of cruelty to livestock subject to felony-level penalties.

It’s important to remember that these victories, as well as the countless others, could not have been achieved without collaboration among state legislators and humane advocacy groups. Let’s all continue to champion stronger laws protecting our nation’s animals and make 2013 an even better year!

Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to learn more.

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My wish for the animals of California is that builders and people would stop building in the hills. The higher they go, the less area for the animals that lived there first. Then home owners complain about the animals. Give me a break, where do you want them to go, you are in their livingroom, not the other way around.


In my class there is a girl named Micah and she is mean to her dogs :( I want to save those pour animals,already reported her though.

tamara ei


tamara ei


tamara ei


Susan spencer

I have been recently blessed with a new job - the first thing I did was to donate to all the beautiful animals out there. I can't give but $20 a month for now, but every blessing I receive, Nature's Beauties shall also be blessed.

Thank You, for being there!


Puerto Rico has too many stray animals. And I want to stop this. I want to see all those dogs and cats in homes or safe from the very busy streets. I was wondering if Puerto Rico has an organization for capturing stray animals.


All of us have achieved something in our life. Maybe it's an A on your quiz, coming first place in a race. But we can do more than that. You can achieve higher goals. If you set a goal and put your mind to it you can do anything. If you really want to donate to ASPCA but you don't have enough out of your budget, start any kind of sale or offering. I know we all can make a difference. One Day!


The progress in Idaho is better than nothing, but, it should be pointed out that the only a a third offense constitutes a felony. And as difficult it is for animal abuse to be revealed and to be prosecuted - I doubt there will ever be a felony animal cruelty charge under that statute.

Creative and dedicated prosecutors can find ways to punish these people (see the Boise Zoo Monkey killer charged with felony grand theft). But Idaho is still way behind - there's still work to do there.


In my opinion, rescuing animals help but not much. We should start from childhood, teaching small kids about loving/protecting the animals. At the same time laws need be set much stricter, punishment enforced harsher for animal cruelty, puppy milling,etc. Also,STOP breeding for sale & vanity. We human species have gotten so much inter-cultural/racial marriages. Nothing wrong with that, why do we have to have pure-bred pets? More over, purebreds mean many more "genetic" health issues to the animals. What for?! Educate the public NOT to buy so-called purebreds. When nobody wants purebreds, the breeders won't get to pump more. I think making ownership cost a lot more (registrations, buying health insurance, dog-bite insurance etc.) might discourage people from buying purebreds??