Senator Chuck Schumer has announced the unanimous passage of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act through the Senate, which will now head to the president’s desk.
The bipartisan bill would close a loophole created by the 201o federal animal crush video law, which criminalized the creation and distribution of videos depicting the torture of animals.
What it failed to provide was a way for federal law enforcement to fully prosecute those committing the actual abuse in the videos, as well as those who were not caught on tape.
Once signed into law, the PACT Act will allow anyone caught torturing or otherwise harming animals to be prosecuted and even sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
The PACT Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Pat Toomey [R-PA], Richard Blumenthal [D-CT], Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] and Dick Durbin [D-IL], and cosponsored by Schumer.
“For far too long, animal abusers have used a loophole to avoid penalties or repercussions for their heinous acts,” said Senator Schumer. “The maiming and torturing of innocent animals is abhorrent and will now finally be a federal felony, punishable to the fullest extent of the law. After years of supporting the PACT Act, I’m delighted that it’s finally headed to the president to be signed and become law.”
The 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, banned the creation, sale, and distribution of videos that show live animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or subjected to other heinous abuse, however until now the act of “crushing” was not considered to be a federal crime.
Current federal law only prohibits and criminalizes animal cruelty if the offenders create and sell videos depicting the abuse, leaving federal law enforcement unable to arrest known abusers or protect the animals.
The PACT Act ensures that those found guilty of torturing animals face fines, felony charges, and up to seven years in prison.
It’s being supported by the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Wellness Action, National Sheriffs’ Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and over 200 law enforcement agencies across the country.
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the companion bill on October 23, 2019 with 301 cosponsors.