WASHINGTON (WFLA) – President Trump signed a new bill into law Monday making animal cruelty a federal crime.
The Protecting Animals Against Cruelty and Torture, or PACT Act, is now law, and give the feds power to go after some animal abusers.
“It’s very exciting to be at this juncture at a time when there is so much in DC that isn’t getting done,” said Sara Amundson of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bill that makes animal cruelty a federal felony earlier this month. The bill passed the House in October.
The so-called “PACT Act” specifically bans crushing, burning, drowning and impaling animals, among other things. It would also allow officials to go after suspected animal abusers who cross state lines.
According to it’s co-sponsor, Republican congressman Vern Buchanan, it would also close a big loophole. His office says the bill would specifically ban animal cruelty recorded on video.
Previous laws have criminalized creating and selling those videos, but not the acts of cruelty in them.
Another co-sponsor of the bill, Democrat Ted Deutch, says the legislation sends a clear message that our society does not accept animal cruelty.
“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I’m proud to work with Congressman Deutch on this important issue.”
The legislation has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and national animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States.
Animal abuse can often be the precursor to other violent crimes, one study found that nearly 40 percent of animal abusers had committed violent crimes against humans.
The law also addresses abuse that involves some kind of interstate commerce.
Every state has animal abuse laws on the books, but some cases are difficult to prosecute when exact jurisdiction isn’t clear.
“It’s prevalent enough for the U.S. Congress to care and for President Trump to sign this into law,” Amundson said.
With Trump’s signature, the law becomes immediately enforcable.