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Animal Cruelty is Now a Federal Felony With Trump’s Signature on PACT Act

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On Monday, President Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (known as the PACT Act) into law, making certain instances of animal cruelty a federal felony.


Representative Ted Deutch (D) of Palm Beach and Broward Counties and Representative Vern Buchanan (R) of Sarasota, Florida sponsored H.R.724, the ‘Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act,’ or PACT, a bill that, they hope, will lead to better treatment of animals nationwide.

In October, House lawmakers voted in favor of the bill. Earlier this month, the bill will was passed by the Senate before reaching the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Under the new law, anyone found to be engaging in animal crushing, burning, drowning, suffocation, impalement or other serious bodily injury could be charged with a federal felony. The measure also addresses bestiality and other attempts to sexually exploit animals. Offenses would carry a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison, a possible fine, or both.

The law includes exceptions for hunting, veterinary care, and other actions necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat from an animal.

While all 50 states currently have laws against animal cruelty at the state level, many of offenses are classified as simple misdemeanors with punishments comparable to a slap on the wrist. And, until now, abuses carried over state lines or on federal land lacked jurisdiction, making prosecution difficult and time consuming.

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