Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act: Local congressman pushes animal protection bill

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A local congressman is behind new federal legislation that would crackdown on animal cruelty.

“I was proud to introduce the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act,” said Congressman David Joyce of Geauga County.

Joyce is among those who recently introduced House Bill 1016.

“What it does is create a dedicated animal cruelties division at the Department of Justice to support the investigation, enforcement, and the prosecution of felony animal cruelty crimes,” said Joyce.

The newly-introduced legislation fortifies federal animal protection laws, especially in cases that span different states or jurisdictions.

According to Joyce, it was the work of Fox 8’s very own Dick Goddard that served as a springboard in forging the bill.

Goddard’s legacy lives on through Goddard’s Law, which makes it a fifth-degree felony to knowingly cause harm to a companion animal.

“Dick Goddard has certainly been one of those guys that I always remember as I try and do this stuff to make sure our families are safe and secure, as well as our animals,” said Joyce.

The bipartisan legislation was forged in cooperation with Animal Wellness Action, a non-profit that helps animals.

“This is really a follow-up to see that this law is enforced.  And that is so important because there is a link between animal cruelty and human violence,” said Wayne Pacelle with AWA.

According to Pacelle, the DOJ already has dedicated sections on other areas, such as environmental protection, wildlife, and organized crime.

Joyce says he hopes to have the legislation passed by the end of the year.

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