New laws restricting ownership of exotic animals and limiting puppy mills pushed Ohio up in annual state rankings by the Humane Society of the U.S.
Ohio, which ranked 27th in the nation, was the most improved state, climbing up from 36th, according to the annual "humane" rankings done by the national group. California was No. 1 for the fourth consecutive year.
The society, which is separate from local humane societies, ranked states and the District of Columbia based on 75 animal protection issues, including animal fighting; animal cruelty; wildlife abuse; exotic animals, companion animals; animal research; farm animals; animal trapping; puppy mills, and equine protection.
Wayne Pacelle, the society's president and chief executive officer, said, the rankings are an indicator of "which states are falling behind important protections for animals, and which states are leading in the effort to create a more humane and civil society." He said Ohio "made great progress."
The organization moved Ohio up largely because of the passage of a law restricting sale and ownership of exotic animals last year, and a new puppy mill bill recently signed by Gov. John Kasich. The society still faults Ohio for failing to enact a tough law banning cockfighting.
Massachusetts, second-ranked, moved up in part for passage of a law that allows pets to be part of domestic violence protection orders and a ban on animal euthanasia. South Dakota bottomed out at 51st on the list.
The Humane Society said it successfully lobbied for passage of 74 state laws and regulations to protect animals in the past year.
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