Proposed law would make animal cruelty a federal felony

A conviction could mean up to 7 years in prison

Proposed law would make animal cruelty a federal felony
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act broadens the scope of what’s considered a crime under federal law. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell) (Denis Farrell)

(Gray News) – Two Florida congressmen want to make animal cruelty a federal felony.

Anyone convicted under the bill Reps. Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan re-introduced last week would face federal charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act broadens the scope of what’s considered a crime under federal law.

Under the PACT Act, a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, and impaling animals and sexually exploiting them. The legislation contains exceptions for hunting.

“This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws,” 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 torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said on Twitter. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me.”

The Senate has unanimously passed the PACT Act twice before, and it earned 284 bipartisan House cosponsors and over 200 law enforcement endorsements in the 115th Congress, according to the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

It says the only reason this legislation has not passed the full House in past years is because it was blocked from coming to the floor by former House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who is no longer in Congress.

“With a new Judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chances that the bill will finally become law this year are much brighter,” the group said.

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