Trump signs bill making animal cruelty a federal felony

National

President Trump signed a bipartisan bill into law Monday, making animal cruelty a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT Act, bans abusive behavior including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other bodily injury toward any non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians.

The PACT Act, introduced in January by Democratic Florida Congressman Ted Deutch and his Republican colleague, Vern Buchanan, expands the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which was passed by Congress in 2010 and made the creation and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. However, the new act closes a loophole by prohibiting the underlying acts of animal abuse, according to the office of Congressman Deutch.   

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in October and the Senate followed suit the following month. The president then made it official just hours after welcoming a heroic animal into the White House. Conan, the “ultimate dog” that helped the U.S. military bring down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria last month, was honored by the president in a Rose Garden ceremony.

“It’s very fitting that it was on the same day,” Mr. Trump said during the signing ceremony, adding that Conan “created quite a stir.”

Violators of the PACT Act now face criminal penalties of a fine, a prison term of up to seven years, or both.

“This bill is particularly important to us as the only humane law enforcement agency in D.C.,” Chris Schindler, vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance told CBS News in a statement. “Our officers investigate thousands of animal cruelty cases each year, but have been unable to truly bring justice for the animals in instances when the cruelty occurs across multiple jurisdictions.”

“The PACT Act is a necessary tool for us to provide further protections for animals and our community, and will ensure some of the most horrific acts of animal cruelty are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Schindler’s statement continued. 

First published on November 25, 2019 / 4:56 PM

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