Bill would make animal cruelty a federal felony

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/WAVY) — A bill that would make acts of animal cruelty and bestiality a felony is making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives. 

The Orlando Sentinel reports Rep. Ted Deutch (D-West Boca) and Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) have reintroduced the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. 

“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Buchanan. 

Under the legislation, anyone who partakes in the “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals” could face up to seven years in prison. The same goes for people who sexually exploit animals. 

A similar bill, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, would have banned animal “crush” videos that show animals being crushed or abuse. The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan legislation, but the measure was blocked in the House by a former judiciary chairman, according to the newspaper. 

“We’ve acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos. Now it’s time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well,” Buchanan added.

A proposed bill in the Virginia General Assembly would make animal abuse a felony for anyone who abuses a family pet. The law in Virginia currenlty requires that an animal die before abuse is considered a felony.

The bill, SB-1604, is being circulated through committees at the moment, and has yet to make it to the Senate or House of Delegates for a vote.

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