Introduced by Florida representatives, Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture, or PACT Act, makes it a federal crime for “any person to intentionally engage” in animal cruelty. It prohibits intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling, or otherwise subjecting animals to bodily harm. Those who violate the law could be charged with a felony and go to jail for up to seven years.
“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 PACT Act won’t supersede any laws put on the books by local governments that address the same issues.
The bill passed unanimously in both the U.S. House and Senate, and President Trump signed the act into law at a ceremony in the Oval Office, surrounded by representatives from animal welfare organizations. Previously the only federal law regarding animal cruelty prohibited showing video of animal fighting.
The bill was supported unilaterally by the Humane Society of the United States.