Editors Note: This post was originally published on January 28, 2019, but was updated on October 23, 2019, after the U.S. House of Representatives officially passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.
Pet lovers, today is your day! The House has unanimously passed the PACT Act, which makes animal cruelty a federal felony! The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act was introduced by Florida Congressmen Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan and will revise a previous law passed back in 2010. Through a statement, Buchanan noted, “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Passing the PACT Act sends a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated.”
Currently, federal law only explicitly prohibits animal fighting and criminalizes only those wrongdoers when they create and sell videos depicting the actual animal cruelty. PACT Act allows authorities to go after the wrongdoers since they will have federal jurisdiction and won’t be bound by state laws. They can also prosecute criminals if the cruelty occurs on federal property.
Under the act, a person can be prosecuted for drawing, burning, suffocating, crashing, and impaling animals and sexually exploiting them. The legislation does contain exceptions for hunting. Those convicted could face federal felony charges and fines, and up to seven years in prison.
Original post below
It looks like Florida is trying to protect animals at all costs after two congressmen introduced a bill that would make malicious acts of animal cruelty and bestiality a felony under federal law. After multiple horrific reports of animal cruelty these past few months, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-West Boca, and Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, addresses any physical injury such as burning, crushing, suffocating, unnecessary pain, and impaling animals, as well as sexually exploiting domestic animals.
Those individuals convicted of the crime would face up to seven years in prison. Buchanan expressed his decision on Twitter, saying “the torture of innocent animals is abhorrent”, which is why individuals should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. In 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the sale, creation, and distribution of animal cruelty video illegal.
However, these 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 law, by closing this loophole and prohibit certain cases of animal abuse.
Safe to say the Humane Society of the United States was on board with the new proposed bill and applauded the move. The U.S. Senate had passed the PACT Act twice, but the measure was blocked in the House from coming on the floor by former Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who is no longer in Congress.
Humane Society Legislative Fund President, Sara Amundson, said the bill would not only reduce the act of cruelty towards any domestic or wild animal but massively reduce other types of crimes. This after the FBI recognized the seriousness of animal cruelty and the escalation of violence towards humans. The bill does contain exceptions for veterinary care, hunting, and conduct necessary to protect life property from a serious threat caused by an animal.