Two congressmen have introduced a bill that would make malicious acts of animal cruelty and bestiality a felony under federal law.
The Orlando Sentinel reports the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-West Boca, and Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, addresses “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals” as well as sexually exploiting them.
Those convicted of the crime could face up to seven years in prison.
“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch on this important issue,” Buchanan wrote on Twitter.
WESH reports that in 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation, sale and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. However, these depraved acts of cruelty against animals remain legal. Buchanan was a co-sponsor of the legislation when it passed the House in 2010. The PACT Act builds on the 2010 law by closing this loophole and prohibiting certain cases of animal abuse.
The Humane Society of the United States applauded the move.
The U.S. Senate has twice passed the PACT Act, but in the House, the measure was blocked from coming to the floor by former Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who is no longer in Congress.
Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said the bill could reduce other types of crime.
“Decades ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recognized the seriousness of animal cruelty and its link to escalating violence toward humans,” she said.
The bill contains exceptions for normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal.