The U.S. House of Representatives recently unanimously approved the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, which would make several acts of animal cruelty federal felonies.
Sponsored by Congressman Ted Deutch, D-Florida, the bill — House Resolution 724 — is now moving onto the U.S. Senate.
“[The House] vote is a significant milestone in the bipartisan quest to end animal abuse and protect our pets,” Deutch said. “This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. We’ve received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum. Animal rights activists have stood up for living things that do not have a voice.”
If passed, the bill would outlaw purposeful drowning, impaling, suffocation, burning, crushing or anything else that causes serious bodily injury to non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians.
Cleburne Animal Services Manager Mindy Henry said the passing of this law would be a milestone for animal welfare agencies and animal law enforcement agencies across the nation.
“This will allow law enforcement and animal control agencies greater leverage when prosecuting animal cases and hopefully, violators will take note,” Henry said. “Animal abuse and violence against animals is often times a gateway to more serious crimes.
“I am a state-certified cruelty investigator and I have taken part in many cruelty seizures — many of which should have been deemed felonies, but were not because of lack-luster laws. I am hoping that this gives us the tools we need to prosecute animal abusers.”
Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson said over the course of 30 years in animal protection, she has encountered terrible animal cruelties.
“But acts of intentional torture are the most disturbing because they demonstrate how some people treat the most vulnerable in our society,” she said. “These malicious acts deserve federal scrutiny and action.
“Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials will finally have the tools they need to bring those responsible for cruelty to animals to justice.”
The PACT Act would fill gaps in the national law, which only bans animal fighting and the making and sharing of videos that show the kind of abuse the PACT Act would deem unlawful.
“This really is something that should pass,” Humane Society of the United States President Kitty Block told The Washington Post. “It’s not controversial. It’s what the American people want.”
The bill excludes unintentional conduct that injures or kills an animal, as well as medical or scientific research, necessary to protect the life or property of a person or performed as part of euthanizing an animal.
For more details on the HR 724, visit congress.gov.