Two Congressmen from Florida on Jan. 23, proposed a bipartisan bill that would make cruelty against animals a felony across the United States.
Sponsored by Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan, The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, will address “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm” according to a press release by the two Congressmen.
“For many Americans, animal welfare is an important policy issue, and the idea of animal abuse is abhorrent. By building on state and local laws, Congress should act to guarantee a level of protection for animals across the country by criminalizing these inhumane acts,” Congressman Deutch said in the release.
The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Democratic @RepTedDeutch on this important issue. #Sayfie https://t.co/CLza5Wfu8t
— Rep. Vern Buchanan (@VernBuchanan) January 23, 2019
Fifty states across the United States have currently have laws that prevent cruelty against animals, however, if animals get tortured across state lines, there is little to protect them.
With the PACT Bill, authorities will have federal jurisdiction to go after the culprits. They will also be able to prosecute those who engage in acts of cruelty on federal property.
“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Congressman Buchanan said.
“Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Congressman Deutch on this important issue,” he said.
The PACT contains exceptions for “normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal.”
The torture of animals should be a federal crime with stiff penalties. My bill with Democrat @RepTedDeutch has overwhelming bipartisan support. Glad this issue is receiving the attention it deserves. #Sayfie #FlaPol https://t.co/4bhtud7KtL
— Rep. Vern Buchanan (@VernBuchanan) January 28, 2019
Videos of Animal Cruelty
There have been many videos posted online of animal cruelty in the past. These videos have depicted inhumane acts of torture and killings of animals as a form of entertainment on the internet.
Congress passed a law in 2010 to prevent the creation and the distribution of such videos, but the underlying acts were still legal under federal law. It did not make crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling, or other acts of animal cruelty a federal crime.
The PACT Act would strengthen the 2010 law and would also criminalize creating and selling of videos linked to animal cruelty.
“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,” Rep. Deutch said.
Criminals convicted under the PACT Act would face federal felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison.
This is my dog Jessie. She fully supports the PACT Act because she believes that animals deserve protection.
Is it possible to disagree with a dog this cute? pic.twitter.com/HoRUlNTcNg
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) January 29, 2019
Endorsements for the Legislation
In the 115th Congress there was overwhelming support for legislation protecting animals from abuse, but it never received a vote. Today, I reintroduced the PACT Act with @VernBuchanan and we will get this done. It’s bipartisan, common-sense policy that will protect our animals.
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) January 23, 2019
The release states that animal abuse can often be the precursor to other violent crimes. It quotes one study that found that nearly 40 percent of animal abusers had records of crimes against humans.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, animal cruelty is strongly correlated with other crimes, including violence against people.
“Surveys suggest that those who intentionally abuse animals are predominantly men under 30, while those involved in animal hoarding are more likely to be women over 60.”
The PACT has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and various national animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States.
Buchanan is a recipient of the Humane Society’s “Legislator of the Year” award. He chairs the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress and received a 100 percent score from the Humane Society for his leadership and votes in 2018.
He had earlier introduced the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018, that President Donald Trump recently signed into law. This bill made “slaughter, transport, possess, buy, sell or donate dogs or cats or their parts for human consumption” illegal.