Florida lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that will make animal cruelty a felony nationwide. The measure, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ted Deutsch and Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, targets “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, and impaling,” animals notes Carly Sitzer, writing for GreenMatters.
If the law passes, anyone using these acts of violence against an animal will face up to seven years in prison.
It’s called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Buchanan had this to say:
“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” he says.
Deutsch says the effort is “commonsense bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws.” Both congressmen say that while there have been other bills in past years that address animal abuse on both the state and federal level, they haven’t been comprehensive enough. Including a 2010 law intended to punish those who create videos that show animal torture.
The PACT Act takes a bigger bite out of crime
“We’ve acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos,” Deutsch says. “Now it’s time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well.”
In 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, and President Barack Obama signed it into law. The Act banned the production and distribution of crush videos, The Animal Welfare Institute reports.
Often, evil and sick humans victimize animals in such videos — torturing, mutilating, and killing them to satisfy some sick fetish. Fortunately, the PACT Act fills in the loopholes and actually protects everyone involved.
The PACT Act didn’t happen without a fight
The U.S. Senate passed the PACT Act unanimously on two separate occasions and earned more than 200 endorsements from law enforcement during Congress’s previous session. However, the House blocked the bill from reaching the floor by former Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte — who is fortunately no longer serving in Congress.
It has the support of the Humane Society
The hope is that this new law will close any loopholes leftover from previous legislation. Sara Amundson, who’s president of the Humane Society’s Legislative Fund is confident the bill will pass this time and will likely reduce other types of crime as well.
“Decades ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recognized the seriousness of animal cruelty and its link to escalating violence towards humans,” she says.
The bill makes some exceptions for normal veterinary care, hunting and in cases where an animal poses a serious threat to a person’s life or property.
If you’d like to advocate for this bill, the Humane Society has created a template that you can fill out here. This gives you the chance to contact your representative to make your feelings known.
This video from WPTV News offers more information.