Animal Advocates

Senate Unanimously Passes Bill to Make Animal Cruelty a Felony, Now Awaits President’s Signature

Following an October U.S. House of Representatives vote, the U.S. Senate has unanimously passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (known as the PACT Act) to make certain instances of animal cruelty a federal felony. Now, the bill moves to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

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. Now, with a unanimous Senate vote to pass, the bill moves onto the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Under the bill, 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 bill contains 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. Additionally, abuses carried over state lines or on federal land are currently lacking jurisdiction, making prosecution difficult and time consuming.

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