New Bill Is Set To Make Animal Cruelty A Felony Nationwide

New Bill Is Set To Make Animal Cruelty A Felony Nationwide

Under the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and sexually exploiting animals.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act will now make it a federal crime to commit malicious cruelty to an animal on federal property or in interstate commerce. The PACT Act will create a federal anti-cruelty statute that complements the cruelty laws in the 50 states.

The law has been proposed by a Democrat, Congressman Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan, a Republican who both belong to Florida. 



Vern Buchanan's office launched a press release to announce the bill. “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Congressman Deutch on this important issue.” 

Congressman Deutch also made a statement saying, "For many Americans, animal welfare is an important policy issue, and the idea of animal abuse is abhorrent. By building on state and local laws, Congress should act to guarantee a level of protection for animals across the country by criminalizing these inhumane acts. "



CNN reported that if the bill passes, authorities can go after the wrongdoers because they have federal jurisdiction. They can also prosecute criminals if the cruelty occurs on federal property.

"This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws," Congressman Deutch said. "We've acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos; now it's time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well."



The PACT act will make existing amendments to the laws pertaining to cruelty against animals. Prior to this act, criminals who have been accused of 'cruelty to animals' are prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony with a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment up to 1 year.

Intentionally and maliciously torturing or injuring an animal can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony with a fine up to $5000 and/or imprisonment up to 5 years.



However, once the PACT Act gets approved, law-enforcement authorities will have the right to pursue offenders across state lines thanks to their new federal jurisdiction. 

The PACT Act also has several provisions whereby offenders can be prosecuted for offenses such as burning, crushing, drowning, suffocating, and impaling animals and sexually exploiting them. Those convicted under the PACT Act would face harsh fines and up to 7 years in prison.



The legislation has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and national animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States. Animal abuse can often be the precursor to other violent crimes, one study found that nearly 40 percent of animal abusers had committed violent crimes against humans.

The bill is called 'H.R. 724' in the House and will soon be introduced in the Senate by senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).



Back in 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation, sale, and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. However, these depraved acts of cruelty against animals remain legal. Buchanan was a co-sponsor of the legislation when it passed the House in 2010.

The PACT Act builds on the 2010 law by closing this loophole and prohibiting certain cases of animal abuse. The bill contains exceptions for normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal.

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