House passes bill making animal cruelty a federal felony

House passes bill making animal cruelty a federal felony

Certain types of animal cruelty are now a federal felony thanks to the passing of a new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, ABC news reports.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act was passed unanimously on Tuesday afternoon, with the bi-partisan bill having been introduced by y Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. An accompanying bill was also introduced in the Senate.

This dog with no nose managed to find a forever home against the odds: 

"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," Deutch said in a statement. "I'm deeply thankful for all of the advocates who helped us pass this bill, and I look forward to the Senate’s swift passage and the President’s signature."

The bill expands the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which prohibited the creation and distribution of "animal crushing" videos.

A dog in a cage. Credit: Pexels

Now, the PACT Act means that it is a federal crime for "any person 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," a fact sheet of the bill states.

The law does not affect local animal cruelty laws or enforcement and only applies to interstate commerce and federal property.

"The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," Buchanan said.

In the heartbreaking video below, a baby elephant is forced to perform tricks: 

The passing of the bill was praised by Sara Amundson, the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

"Over the course of 30 years in animal protection, I have 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," Amundson said in a statement. "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."