New Bill to Protect Our Animals Could See Abusers Get 7 Years Behind Bars

March 15, 2019 Updated: March 21, 2019

It’s about time. For how long have we watched on as perpetrators of animal abuse have escaped scot-free? If two Florida lawmakers have their way, then a slap on the wrist for animal abuse will be a thing of the past.

The reintroduced bill will make animal cruelty a felony. What this translates to is a prison sentence of up to seven years for those who commit these crimes—along with a heavy fine.

Illustration – Getty Images | KHALED DESOUKI/AFP

The bill, known as the Preventing Animal Cruel and Torture (PACT) Act, will convict abusers for “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals.”

U.S. Representatives Vern Buchanan and Ted Deutch are behind the push, and in a statement, Buchanan said, “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 Congressman Deutch on this important issue.”

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Deutch tweeted, “We will get this done. It’s bipartisan, common-sense policy that will protect our animals.” The Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 already prohibits the trading of obscene “crush” videos, but is only limited to people who create the footage.

“We’ve acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos,” Deutch said, according to The Orlando Sentinel. “Now it’s time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well.”

More than 200 sheriffs and police departments in 36 states, and national groups including the National Sheriffs’ Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, have endorsed the legislation.

However, former Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) blocked the bill from coming to the floor to vote; Goodlatte is no longer in Congress. There is optimism among supporters that the bill will be passed this time around.

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“The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed the ‘PACT Act’ twice before, and it earned 284 bipartisan House co-sponsors and over 200 law enforcement endorsements in the 115th Congress,” the Humane Society wrote. “With a new Judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chances that the bill will finally become law this year are much brighter.

Introducing the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act

Most of you know how passionate I am about animal welfare issues. In fact, I was the only congressperson from Florida to receive a 100+ score from the The Humane Society of the United States for my 2016 voting record. Today, I'm excited to share the news that I'm about to reintroduce the PACT Act. This bipartisan legislation would finally make cruelty against animals, including Prudence here, a federal offense.

Congressman Ted Deutch 发布于 2017年2月8日周三

The PACT Act will close a gap in the law. What this means is perpetrators of  malicious acts of cruelty towards animals will be subject to prosecution wherever they occur, not just on federal land in the states where they are caught, but also in other states if the animals have been moved interstate.

Many organizations and individuals are hoping, and praying, that the legislation will be passed. If the bill is passed then our animal friends may be able to sleep easy.

Illustration – Getty Images | JUNG YEON-JE/AFP

According to Humane Society, a correlation between domestic violence and those who abuse animals has been linked. In one survey, 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets.

If you happen to witness a case of animal abuse or cruelty, you should contact your local animal control agency or animal shelter, or you can call 9-1-1 and report the incident.

Remember, you may be the only lifeline the poor animal has. If it is a life-threatening situation, you need to take immediate action. Remember to write down all details such as place and time of the abuse, and take photos if you can.

Also, write down any witnesses who are prepared to back you up. Don’t forget animals are often dependent on us to take action.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the title of Wayne Pacelle. Mr. Pacelle is no longer the CEO and president of The Humane Society of the United States. The Epoch Times regrets the error.  

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