Special Report

America's Best and Worst States for Pets

41. North Dakota
> Maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 5 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine
> Animals may be included in domestic violence protective orders: No
> Mandatory reporting by veterinarian: Yes
> Households owning pets: 53.9% (13th lowest)

North Dakota has one of the highest rates of animal cruelty offenses per capita. In 2018, there were 10.7 reported cases per 100,000 state residents, the fifth highest rate among states.

Source: alex grichenko / Getty Images

42. South Carolina
> Maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 10 years imprisonment and/or fine at discretion of court, when injury or loss is $10,000 or more
> Animals may be included in domestic violence protective orders: Yes
> Mandatory reporting by veterinarian: No
> Households owning pets: 54.1% (14th lowest)

South Carolina has one of the highest rates of animal cruelty in the country. There were 295 cases, accounting for 5.9 reported animal cruelty incidents per 100,000 residents — the seventh highest rate among states.

Source: Leppert / iStock

43. Utah
> Maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 5 years imprisonment and/or $5,000 fine
> Animals may be included in domestic violence protective orders: No
> Mandatory reporting by veterinarian: No
> Households owning pets: 51.2% (4th lowest)

Few animal abuse crimes are classified as felonies in Utah — neglect, sexual assault, and abandonment are all considered misdemeanors.

Source: MICMOABLE / iStock

44. Alabama
> Maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 10 years imprisonment (includes hard labor) and $15,000 fine
> Animals may be included in domestic violence protective orders: No
> Mandatory reporting by veterinarian: Yes
> Households owning pets: 59.5% (18th highest)

A bill that would give the Alabama Department of Agriculture authority over animal industries and the reporting of animal cruelty in Alabama passed the state Senate committee on Feb. 19.

Source: Michael Overstreet / Getty Images

45. Idaho
> Maximum penalty for aggravated cruelty: 3 years prison and/or $5,000 fine
> Animals may be included in domestic violence protective orders: No
> Mandatory reporting by veterinarian: No
> Households owning pets: 62.0% (9th highest)

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.

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