Lawmakers pushing bill to make animal cruelty a nationwide felony

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WASHINGTON DC — Two Florida congressmen are pushing to pass a bill that would make acts of animal cruelty and bestiality a nationwide felony.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), sponsored by Representatives Ted Deutch (D – West Boca) and Vern Buchanan (R – Sarasota), addresses issues of “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals,” as well as the sexual exploitation of animals.

If passed, a person convicted of these crimes could spend up to seven years in prison.

The congressmen reintroduced the bill Wednesday.

Deutch reportedly called for “commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Deutch also referenced the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which was passed in 2010, telling Congress that it hasn’t done enough.  The 2010 act aimed to stop people from producing videos depicting the mutilation of animals.  However, that law only applies when a video is being made.

“We’ve acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos. Now it’s time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well,” Deutch reportedly told Congress.

The United States Humane Society has allegedly applauded PACT, claiming it will “close the loophole in the 2010 law.”

The Senate has unanimously passed PACT twice, however the measure was blocked from coming to the floor in the House by former Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who is no longer in Congress, the Sentinel reports.

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, told the newspaper that she believes PACT has a better chance of passing this session.  Amundson also reportedly believes it would reduce other types of crimes as well.

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