Cruelty To & Abuse Of Animals Is On Track To Becoming A Federal Felony

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act is being sponsored in Congress by a Democrat and a Republican.

June 26, 2019

Photo by: Orange tabby cat beside fawn short-coated puppy [Pexels]

Orange tabby cat beside fawn short-coated puppy [Pexels]

By: Mike McPadden

WASHINGTON, DC — At a time when our nation can seem more divided than ever, two Florida congressmen from opposite sides of the aisle have come together to take better care of our animal population with stronger laws to protect them.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act is being sponsored by Representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat from West Boca, and Representative Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Sarasota.

If PACT passes, it would make malicious acts of physical and sexual animal abuse a felony under federal law, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

When introducing the bill, Rep. Buchanan said, “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Rep. Deutch pointed out that a 2010 law aimed at the makers of “crush” videos didn’t go far enough, because it solely focused on video production. Deutch said, “We've acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos. Now it's time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well.”

This is not the first time the PACT Act has been proposed. In two previous sessions of Congress, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bill, and it earned 284 bipartisan House cosponsors and received more than 200 endorsements from law-enforcement organizations.

On both those occasions, the single vote of House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte from Virginia shut the bill down. This time, though, Goodlatte is no longer in Congress.

The newly proposed PACT Act earned fast praise from The Humane Society and other animal charities.

Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, expressed positive feelings that PACT would pass now, telling People magazine, “All fifty states have felony penalties for malicious cruelty to animals, but states cannot prohibit cruelty that occurs in interstate commerce or across state lines. We need to ensure that we have a federal anti-cruelty statute to prevent such horrid conduct.”

The new PACT proposal contains exceptions for normal veterinary care, hunting, and necessary actions taken to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal.

The Humane Society is asking that supporters of the PACT Act call their U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator at (202) 225-3121 to request cosponsorship of bill H.R. 724.