Congress passes bill to make animal cruelty a felony

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(WFLA) – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that makes animal cruelty a federal felony. The bill passed the House two weeks ago and is expected to be signed by President Trump in the near future.

The so-called “PACT Act” specifically bans crushing, burning, drowning and impaling animals, among other things. It would also allow officials to go after suspected animal abusers who cross state lines.

According to its co-sponsor, Republican congressman Vern Buchanan, it would also close a big loophole. His office says the bill would specifically ban animal cruelty recorded on video.

Previous laws have criminalized creating and selling those videos, but not the acts of cruelty in them.

Another co-sponsor of the bill, Democrat Ted Deutch, says the legislation sends a clear message that our society does not accept animal cruelty.

“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I’m proud to work with Congressman Deutch on this important issue.”

The legislation has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and national animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States.

Animal abuse can often be the precursor to other violent crimes, one study found that nearly 40 percent of animal abusers had committed violent crimes against humans.

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