Animal cruelty has become a growing problem in this country. Whether it be blatant abuse that comes from the world of illegal pit bull fighting rings, parents dropping their puppy Christmas gifts off at shelters after they turn into an actual dog, or leaving dogs out in the cold during winter because they have a dog house, more people are just getting pets for the sake of getting them and not viewing them as an actual responsibility and companion. When animals end up in kill shelters, they’re more likely to end up in the wrong hands, as the background check process isn’t as extensive, and more animals are left to be killed or subject to abusive behavior, when all they want is a loving home and owner.
Luckily, this month the government is making more moves to ensure that the animals who do find themselves in a domestic home, aren’t abused and are federally protected from those horrors. This past Monday President Donald Trump signed a bill that states animal cruelty is now a federal crime, and will be punishable as such.
The specific act is titled the “PACT Act,” which stands for the “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.” According to the official bill, the act itself is a “bipartisan initiative that bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians. The law also bans ‘animal crush videos,’ meaning any photograph, motion picture film, video or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.”
The penalty for violating this new federal law will be a hefty fine, decided based on the specifics of each case, up to seven years in federal prison, or potentially both. The National Public Radio reported that the initial bill was introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan of Florida. The bill was pushed to vote through the senate thanks to Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Animal cruelty has been an ongoing and growing issue within this country. America already has a whole series of individual state laws against animal cruelty and torture, however, without federal legislation giving a general basis and guideline for these laws, it’s become increasingly more difficult to prosecute specific cases without any major point of reference.
“PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level,” Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.
“I’m grateful to see the PACT Act finally signed into law. The barbaric torture of animals has no place in a civilized society and should be a crime — and thanks to this new law, now it is. Senator Toomey and I worked together for years to ensure that this kind of despicable torture of animals is forbidden for good, Senator Blumenthal said.
Many individuals who worked on this bill and helped sign it into legislation, including the President, have stated that this has been a long time coming, and animals are long overdue these types of federal protections. As previously mentioned, state’s were responsible for enforcing their own animal cruelty laws, as the only federal regulations before this point were more specifically based on animal fighting rings, and the distribution of videos depicting animal cruelty. Now, with the PACT Act, federal authorities will be able to target and go after animal abusers head on, as the act has granted them federal jurisdiction country-wide. The passing of this act is a win for animal rights activists, and more importantly our countries furry friends who all deserve a loving home, and are now being given a better shot at finding one.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.