President Signs Bill Making Animal Abuse a Federal Offense
WASHINGTON – President Trump on Monday signed legislation introduced by Florida Congressmen Vern Buchanan and Ted Deutch banning extreme forms of animal cruelty and torture.
Buchanan attended the bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House along with representatives from animal welfare organizations.
“For many Americans, their pets are a part of their family,” Buchanan said. “That’s been true in my home and that’s why the signing of this bill today is such an important milestone.”
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act prohibits intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm. Those convicted face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.
The PACT Act was introduced by Buchanan and Deutch earlier this year and was passed overwhelmingly by the U.S House and Senate. “I want to thank Ted and all the animal welfare groups who worked so hard to help get this bill passed and signed into law,” Buchanan said.
Disturbingly, in so-called “animal crush videos,” individuals brutally kill, mutilate and torture small and defenseless animals as a perverse form of entertainment to be shared over the internet. And while Congress passed legislation in 2010 to prohibit the creation and distribution of these horrific videos, the underlying acts themselves are still legal under federal law. The PACT Act closes this loophole by prohibiting the underlying acts of torture themselves, regardless of whether or not a video is created.
Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said, “This is a day to celebrate. 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.”
Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, said, “The passage of the PACT Act and this signing ceremony in the Oval Office today, would not have been possible without Rep. Buchanan’s tireless work. We’re thrilled to see the first anti-cruelty statute in American history signed into law and applaud President Trump and the Congress for providing the voiceless with a level of protection never seen before.”
Buchanan co-chairs the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress and received a perfect score from the Humane Society for his leadership and votes in 2019. He is also a past winner of the Humane Society’s prestigious “Legislator of the Year” award.