Congress To Decide On The Extent Of Jurisdiction In Cases Of Egregious Animal Abuse—Will The Law Pass?

Abused and tortured animals get a second chance at a law that protects their lives and welfare.

source: Inhabitat

The Preventing Animal Cruel and Torture (PACT) Act was re-introduced last week in by two members of the US House of Representatives. Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan, co-sponsors of the bill, stated that if passed it would classify “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating or impaling animals” would be considered a criminal act if found guilty could carry a fine, a seven-year prison sentence, or both, and if passed would be recognized on a nationwide level.  

The bill also addressed the issues of both bestiality and any other types of animal sexual exploitation.  The PACT Act would prove the ability to close a loophole, by extending federal jurisdiction to specific kinds of heinous crimes.

Deutch took to Twitter, tweeting: "We will get this done.  It's a bipartisan, common-sense policy that will protect our animals."  Deutch’s co-sponsor, as well as congressional college, Buchanan, stated that for him the protection of animals from cruelty is a top priority.  Buchanan also tweeted: “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.’

Also included in the legislation are provisions stating specific exceptions including hunting, veterinary care, as well as any necessary actions taken to protect either life or property from the presumption of severe threat form any animals.  

A supporter of the bill, The Humane Society Legislative Fund, feels that although the majority of states currently have laws stating that particular acts of cruelty are seen as a felony, but are still only considered as a misdemeanor.

According to the group, during the previous session of Congress, the measure was supported by 284 bipartisan co-sponsors, as well as more than 200 endorsements by law enforcement. Even though there was such massive support for the bill, it never made it to the floor for a vote, as Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte blocked the measure.  

However, Goodlatte is no longer a member of Congress, which gives supporters of the measure hope and increased optimism that the bill will indeed make it to the floor and be voted on this time. 

A previous law, passed in 2010, geared towards outlawing the producing and displaying of animal videos of a gruesome nature, was made legal and called the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act (PL 111-294, having been signed in by President Obama during his administration.  The new law will tackle the attempt to affirm such acts as obscene speech as well.

So, what’s the verdict—you decide.

Will the PACT Act finally see its day in Congress?  Does it have a chance of being passed?