Oklahoma has become a more humane state for animals in the past year, but still has plenty of room for progress, according to a report released Tuesday by the Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society released its second annual Humane State Ranking, which evaluates states' animal protection laws. Oklahoma tied with Georgia for the No. 27 spot. California is ranked No. 1, while South Dakota finished at the bottom of the list.
Oklahoma scored well in animal fighting laws, but lags behind when it comes to exotic pets, trapping and animal testing, according to the report.
The state was cited in the report for dramatic improvement in the puppy mill category. The Commercial Pet Breeders Act that passed this year requires puppy breeding operations to be licensed, inspected and provide humane care.
â€œThat is a huge step forward for Oklahoma,â€ said Cynthia Armstrong, state director for the Humane Society.
The Board of Commercial Pet Breeders is finalizing the details of the new regulations, Armstrong said.
Oklahoma is second only to Missouri in puppy production, Armstrong said. The Humane Society receives complaints about dogs bred in Oklahoma from buyers across the country, she said. Most complaints are that the dogs became sick or died.
In the Oklahoma report:
Oklahoma earned 26 out of a possible 65 points in the report, scoring a point in categories such as pets, farm animals and animal cruelty.
Oklahoma scored highly in the animal fighting categories, with its felony penalties for cockfighting. Attending a cockfight is illegal but not a felony.
Oklahoma is one of four states that ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The others are California, Michigan and Texas.
Oklahoma scored zero points in the fur and trapping category. Snares, leg-hold traps and other practices are legal.
Oklahoma does not ban the use of animals in research or school settings.
Oklahoma has no exotic pet bans. Other states ban big cats, primates, venomous snakes, bears and wolves as pets.
Following is information about national law trends:
Dog fighting is a felony in every state. Attending a dogfight is illegal in all states except Hawaii and Montana.
Only California bans tail docking of dairy cows.
The sale of dog and cat fur is legal in 40 states, including Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C.
Egregious acts of cruelty are felonies in every state except Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Cockfighting is not a felony in 11 states.