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PHOENIX -- Arizona ranks seventh in the nation when it comes effective animal protection laws, but advocates say there is always room for improvement.

"Animals need our protection, they don't have a voice of their own," said Kari Nienstedt, state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

People from around the state will meet with lawmakers on Tuesday, also known as Humane Day 2014, to lobby for better animal welfare laws. Attendees will be supporting bills that protect breeding dogs and those that stiffen penalties for abusers.

"Animal abuse is a community problem," said Nienstedt. "There have been many studies over the past 20 years that show a strong link between animal abuse and human violence."

Advocates are urging legislators to support legislation that would temporarily ban ownership of animals for those who've been convicted of extreme animal cruelty, add animal fighting to the list of racketeering crimes, ensure consistent, humane standards of care for breeding dogs and prohibit live animals as prizes in carnival games.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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