PACT Act Would Make Animal Abuse A Felony Across The Country

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A new bill re-introduced by two members of the U.S. House of representatives would make animal cruelty a nationwide felony offense, and those convicted of the crime would face a fine or up to seven years in prison, or both if it becomes law.

Here’s a bit of bi-partisan working together that we like to see. Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan, both U.S. Members of the House of Representatives, have re-introduced a bill that would make abusing animals a felony that carried stiff charges nationwide.

The bill is called Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), and would criminalize those who would abuse animals in the following ways: crushing, burning, suffocating, drowning, and impaling them. The bill would also address abuse and exploitation of animals in connection with bestiality and other forms of sexual abuse against them.

Related: Virginia Passes Tougher Animal Abuse Laws After Tommie Tragically Dies

Representative Deutch said in a tweet that the bill is a common-sense policy that will protect animals, and that it has bipartisan support.

Representative Buchanan agreed, saying that protecting animals from cruelty nationwide is a top priority for him. In a tweet, he said that the torture of animals should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and they’re working to make that consequence law nationwide.

The bill was introduced in the previous Congressional session and earned the endorsement of over 200 law enforcement agencies as well as 284 bipartisan co-sponsors. It seemed destined for passing but former Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia prevented the bill from coming to the House floor for a vote and it died. Goodlatte is no longer a member of Congress, and advocates of the bill hope that this time, it will be voted upon and receive overwhelming support.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is also supportive of the bill. In 2010, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act passed and outlawed the production of horrific videos of animal abuse. This bill would close loopholes to that Act, and prohibit interstate abuse against animals. It would also give law enforcement agents the opportunity to go after those who maliciously injure animals regardless of the state the abuse happened.

This legislation does allow exceptions for hunting, veterinary care and those who need to protect life or property from serious animal threats, so those who previously opposed such a measure for extreme circumstances have no reason to oppose the current bill.

Related: More States Mandating Animal Abusers to Register as Offenders

The bill has been passed twice in the Senate; it now needs to pass in the House of Representatives before becoming law of the land.

The Humane Society has a page you can visit that will allow you to contact your representative to voice your support for this life-saving measure to pass.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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