The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would possibly make it a federal offense to subject animals to cruelty or other serious bodily harm.
With a possible penalty of seven years of imprisonment, the U.S. House unanimously passed U.S. Rep. Theodore Deutch’s (D-FL) H.R. 724 on Oct. 22, 2019. The legislation seeks to make a federal offense the acts of intentionally crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting an animal to serious bodily harm.
The legislation, also known as the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act or the PACT Act, achieved what Public Law 111-294, or the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, didn’t achieve—addressing the act of animal abuse, according to Deutch. Former U.S. president Barack Obama enacted the law in 2010.
Deutch noted that, according to congressional records, P.L. 111-294 merely banned the creation and distribution of animal crush videos but not the underlying act of animal abuse.
“…We must make animal abuse a federal crime,” Deutch said in a statement. “This bill has received so much bipartisan support, because Americans care about animal welfare. We form deep relationships with our companion animals and are rightfully outraged by cases of animal abuse. Animal rights activities stand up for living things that do not have a voice. That is what the PACT Act does.”
The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate for review and action, which co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) said had a good chance of garnering support.
“We are optimistic it will pass the Senate, which has already supported the bill in two previous sessions of Congress,” he said.