Lawmakers reintroduce bill to make animal cruelty a felony

Lawmakers reintroduce bill to make animal cruelty a felony
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A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is pushing to make animal cruelty a nationwide felony.

Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchOcasio-Cortez knocks Pence: 'Utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response' Father of Parkland shooting victim calls on Congress to take action Florida 'red flag' law has removed hundreds of guns: report MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE (R-Fla.) last week introduced the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which makes it a federal crime “to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce.”

“Crushing” refers to a wide range of animal cruelty such as burning, drowning, suffocating or other serious bodily injury. The bill contains exemptions for hunting, medical care and actions that are “necessary to protect the life or property of a person.”

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“Congress should act to guarantee a level of protection for animals across the country by criminalizing these inhumane acts,” Deutch said in a release. “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."

Deutch and Buchanan introduced the PACT Act last Congress. It received 284 co-sponsors but was never brought to a vote.

The lawmakers argued that a 2010 law prohibiting the distribution of videos of animal cruelty is “limited in scope,” and said that the PACT Act would strengthen that law.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund praised the bill in a release, saying that Deutch and Buchanan’s law is a “long overdue” federal statute that will fill “gaps” in felony provisions in all 50 states.