Animal cruelty is a difficult subject. No one wants to think about the terrible things that happen to pets every day. Starvation, exposure to the elements, physical violence — it’s all too terrible to contemplate.
Unfortunately, this is a reality for many animals, and avoiding the subject doesn’t help them. Neither do many of our laws. Animal cruelty is prosecuted at a state and local level now, and the punishments vary widely. Many states have weak animal protection laws. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Kentucky is the worst, with Iowa, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah following.
Now, Florida lawmakers are hoping to spark a big change. Representatives Vern Buchanan and Ted Deutch have introduced a bipartisan law called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT. This law would make animal cruelty a felony at the federal level.
This part might be uncomfortable to read. The PACT Act covers drowning, burning, impaling, suffocating, and crushing animals. It also includes a more general statement about any other form of violence that causes bodily harm to animals. That way no one slips through the cracks.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty & Torture (PACT) Act, which would establish our nation’s first anti-cruelty law, is up for a vote in the U.S. House next week & is expected to pass. This is a historical moment for #animals that is years in the making! 👏🏻🐶🐾 #PassthePACTAct #PACTAct pic.twitter.com/P7BB2C2vP9— Animal Wellness Action (@AWAction_News) October 19, 2019
This bill, if it passes, would make it easier for prosecutors to go after things like dog fighting rings that operate in multiple jurisdictions. It also makes it easier to go after people who post videos of animal cruelty online. As of now, posting those videos is illegal…but the violence itself is not a federal crime.
The House of Representatives passed the PACT Act. Now it’s up to the Senate to vote on it.
As great as the PACT Act is, the penalty for offenders is seven years of prison and a fine. Do you think that’s too lenient? Should lawmakers do something to increase the punishment? Let us know in the comments – and make sure you pass this along to your friends and family!