State laws governing animal welfare vary between states. This paper will establish the differentiation in the terminology, the established punishments, and the resulting rates of euthanasia associated with these laws as well as examining local laws that have proven effective. Best practices that are a direct result of the institution of the laws in the states that have been deemed “top tier” by The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and The United States Department of Agriculture will be examined and compared with the existing practices and laws of Kentucky. Kentucky currently ranks in the bottom tier in The United States of America for effectiveness of animal protection laws. These laws govern the citizens of states in terms of cruelty, neglect, and abuse as well as establishes the limits of legal repercussions associated with each infraction. Clearly defined laws with stronger penalties levied against perpetrators consistently result in lower instances of animal cruelty and lower rates of euthanasia as a result of unwanted pets. Many states govern local shelters in terms of adoption requirements and mandatory spaying and neutering of pets prior to adoption. These states are consistently located in the top tier of states with animal welfare laws. This paper will compare the laws and establish what is considered best practices for further study for state legislators to improve their laws.

Keywords: animal cruelty, animal welfare laws, euthanasia, state laws

Year Manuscript Completed

Spring 2020

Senior Project Advisor

Dr. Scott Douglas

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Integrated Studies Degree

Field of Study

Commerce & Leadership

Document Type