The U.S. Senate came together this week to unanimously pass bipartisan legislation that will make some of the most brutal acts of animal cruelty a federal crime.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, criminalizes certain types of animal cruelty, and expands on previous legislation, the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which criminalized the creation and distribution of "animal crushing" videos.
The bill, sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Sens. Pat Toomey and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal, will make certain malicious acts of cruelty against animals including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling live animals and sexually exploiting them, a felony.
"Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer," said Toomey. "Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties."
The measure heads for President Trump's desk where if he signs it, it will become a federal law.
"There is no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals - period," said Sen. Blumenthal. "Senator Toomey and I have spent years working to hold the barbaric individuals who commit these crimes accountable, and I'm glad that Congress is now finally sending our bill to the president's desk to be signed into law."
The president and CEO of the Humane Society, Kitty Block, congratulated Congress on passing the bill in a statement posted to the organization's website:
"The passage of this bill is a well-deserved victory for us and our colleagues at the Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Protection Litigation division, who were instrumental in helping the sponsors draft this legislation and have led the fight to pass the PACT Act for almost a decade now," Block and Amundson said in a statement on the Humane Society's website.
"We applaud Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for their persistence and leadership on seeing this bill through," the statement read.
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