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updated: 12/14/2011 7:41 AM

Group says Illinois shines in animal protection

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Associated Press

A California-based advocacy group says Illinois is among states with the most progressive animal protection laws in the country.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund released a report Tuesday ranking all 50 states. The organization says Illinois, California, Maine, Michigan and Oregon have the best laws on behalf of animals.

The group says the worst states for animals are Kentucky, North Dakota, Idaho, South Dakota and Iowa.

The animal rights group says Illinois has felony penalties for cruelty, neglect, fighting, abandonment and sexual assault of animals. The state has enhanced penalties for repeat abusers, and its main legal protections apply to most animals.

Illinois veterinarians are required to report instances of animal cruelty, and the court may order counseling and restrictions on future ownership of animals for abusers.

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