U.S. Moves To Make Animal Cruelty A Federal Felony
With a unanimous vote in favor of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act this week, the United States House of Representatives took a historic step toward making animal cruelty a felony federal offense.
The bipartisan bill accompanies a companion bill that was introduced in the Senate as well. Sponsored by Representative Ted Deutch, D-FL, and Representative Vern Buchanan, R-FL, the bill will criminalize on a federal level certain acts of animal cruelty, and designate them as felony offenses.
Rep. Deutch said that the bill sends a clear message that America does not accept cruelty against animals and that those offenses will be taken seriously. Rep. Deutch says he anticipates a swift passage in the Senate and signature by the president.
The PACT Act expands on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act. That bill made the creation and distribution of videos in which animals were ‘crushed’ illegal. There were many related underlying acts of cruelty that were not included in the 2010 bill but are now part of the PACT Act.
With the PACT Act, essentially any person who intentionally engaged in animal crushing would be federally charged. That said, the act will not interfere with local animal cruelty laws or enforcement, and is limited to interstate commerce and federal property. Animal crushing is the barbaric torture of animals that sounds excactly like it is: the purposeful abuse of animals that includes crushing them, stabbing them repeatedly and even nailing them to walls and floors, among many other horrific things.
Representative Buchanan said that torturing innocent animals is an abhorrent behavior and deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Sara Amundson is the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund and she celebrated the passing of the bill. Amundson said that in her 30 years of animal protection, she’d come across terrible animal cruelties, but the ones that involved intentional torture were the most atrocious. Saying they were an example of how some people in our society treat the most vulnerable, she believes that the federal government should scrutinize and take action against those events.
Now, with the passing of the PACT Act, law enforcement officials and Federal Prosecutors will be able to go after those who are responsible for intentional acts of cruelty and bring justice to the abused animals.