An animal (cat) looking up at its owner.

Animal Cruelty Is Now a Federal Felony

By Joel Hancock

What animal lovers everywhere have always deemed as horrific is now being held accountable. The recent passage of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act unanimously in the House and the Senate has been signed by President Trump, making acts of animal cruelty a federal felony. Though historically looked at as property, animals are now gaining more protections. 

The bill, co-sponsored by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), received total bipartisan support.  “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Buchanan. “This is a milestone for pet owners and animal lovers across the country. For the first time, a national law has been passed by Congress to protect animals from cruelty and abuse.” Deutch concurred, expressing that the bill was simply “commonsense, bipartisan legislation” intended to demonstrate greater compassion towards animals. 

The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, ceremoniously signed the bill. Pelosi shared her elation of signing it on Twitter. “Today, I was honored to sign @RepTedDeutch’s #PACTAct to make animal cruelty a federal offense. Our furry friends, Milo and Prudence were on hand to help me enroll this bipartisan legislation that will now go to the President’s desk!”

New Bill Shows Expansion of Animal Protection

In 1999 the Supreme Court overturned a decision to allow the posting of animal crushing videos, as it felt that such a ban would impinge on our right to free speech. Then, in 2010 a law made it illegal to post or share videos of animal crushing online. Animal crushing videos were usually composed of women in sharp high heels or stilettos, crushing and killing small animals. The new bill builds on the 2010 law, making it not only illegal to share these videos but to also engage in the abusive behaviors underlying them. 

The bill, known as the PACT Act, says that the crushing of animals would be considered a federal felony. The legislation recognizes the “crushing” of animals as the purposeful crushing burning, suffocation, impalement, drowning, or bodily injury to them.  

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey also communicated his excitement after Congress unanimously passed the bill. “Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” he said. “Evidence shows that 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.”

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina with Animal Cruelty Charges

When someone is found guilty of a crime, it can permanently impact the rest of his or her life. With so much at stake, it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney. At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC we know how serious even an accusation can be and will work our hardest to ensure that your rights are protected. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.