Iowa — A new list shows Iowa is the second worst state in the country for animal protection laws, followed only by Kentucky.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund released its annual report saying Iowa has a long way to go to strengthen these laws. The report lists 11 areas that need improvement.
The Fund says the state needs to toughen cruelty laws to include more animals, define the standard of basic care, and increase penalties for offenders when an animal is abused in the presence of a minor or when multiple animals are involved.
Tom Colvin, Executive Director of the Animal Rescue League, says the organization is urging lawmakers to take up the state’s companion animal code.
“There are current laws that talk about adequate shelter and that type of thing. We want to see that refined, defined, and actually carried further to give particularly law enforcement, and city and county prosecutors, the tools that they need to actually prosecute if weather extremes are not being taken into consideration for the care of an animal,” says Colvin.
Colvin also says he believes animal protection is a bipartisan issue.
“Even though we recognize that the majority of Iowans really do care about companion animals and how they’re treated, this is really going to take a grassroots level of work to get all of this bill through to the legislature and actually carry it through the entire year, so, quite frankly, its one of those things that everybody’s going to have to team together.”
He says the ARL wants tougher penalties for crimes like leaving animals in hot vehicles. The ARL will help lobby for animal protection laws at the Capitol in February.