Pit Bull mix Bruno stands up in the holding cage at the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago, Illinois, July 2, 2012. Bruno was seized after being found malnourished in Bellwood. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/MCT) MCT
The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bill making animal cruelty a federal felony.
The Senate passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT, on Wednesday, sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.
“Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn, who sponsored the bill along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “Evidence shows that the 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.”
The House passed the bill in late October.
The bill makes it a federal crime for a person to intentionally crush, burn, drown, suffocate, impale or “otherwise subject an animal to serious bodily harm.” The bill covers non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians, with violators facing fines and up to seven years in prison.
It expands a 2020 law that criminalized the creation and distribution of videos of animal abuse but did not address the acts themselves.