President Trump Signs Bill Making Animal Cruelty A Federal Felony

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Unfortunately, animal abuse is common in both, rural and urban areas. Cruelty and neglect cross all social and economic boundaries. The number of animal cruelty cases reported daily is shocking, and most cases are still considered to go unreported.

Animals have been mistreated in various ways in the past, but nowadays, numerous animal rights organizations are working to raise awareness about the importance of protecting their wellbeing.

After decades of negligence, animals are starting to receive proper treatment in most parts of the world.

By signing the bill into law, President Donald Trump made animal cruelty a federal felony, saying the measure would help us be “more responsible and humane stewards of our planet.”

The bipartisan bill, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, criminalizes certain acts of animal cruelty. The bill was approved in the House in late October and was passed in the Senate by unanimous decision on Nov. 5.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said this is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer.

He added that it has been proven that deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people, so the strong cruelty laws and penalties of the federal government are appropriate.

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and it is an expansion on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which banned the creation and distribution of “animal crushing” videos, meaning any photograph, motion picture film, video or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.

The underlying acts, that were not part of the 2010 bill, are part of the PACT Act (which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture).

Trump said that we need to fight the heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty. He added that he had the same reaction to the bill as he did to the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act he had signed a few minutes earlier, saying, “Why hasn’t this happened a long time ago?”

According to a fact sheet of the bill, it will make it 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.”

After it was approved by the Senate, the bill was sent to be signed by the president.

When the House passed the bill on Oct.22. Deutch stated that the is deeply thankful for all the advocates that helped them to pass the bill, and added that he is looking forward to the Senate’s swift passage and the president’s signature.

Federal law had previously only banned animal fighting and only criminalized animal cruelty if the wrongdoers create and sell videos depicting the act.

 Under the PACT Act, people can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating or impaling animals or sexually exploiting them. The convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.

The president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Kitty Block, and the head of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson, praised the historic law.

Block stated:

“PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level. The approval of this measure by the Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law. For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.” 

Amundson said:

“After decades of work to protect animals and bearing witness to some of the worst cruelty, it’s so gratifying the Congress and president unanimously agreed that it was time to close the gap in the law and make malicious animal cruelty within federal jurisdiction a felony.

We cannot change the horrors of what animals have endured in the past, but we can crack down on these crimes moving forward. This is a day to celebrate.”

Sources:
abcnews.go.com
edition.cnn.com
www.npr.org