Trump signs bill making animal cruelty a federal felony

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FILE – In this June 19, 2019 file photo, a dog taken from a property in Klingerstown, Pa., looks out from its cage during an animal cruelty investigation. Congress has passed a bill making certain types of animal cruelty a federal felony. (Jacqueline Dormer/Republican-Herald via AP)

WASHINGTON D.C. (KXAN) — President Trump signed a bill into law Tuesday making animal cruelty a federal felony, according to a report from CNN. Trump said the bill would make Americans “more responsible and humane stewards of our planet.”

Earlier this month the U.S. Senate passed the PACT Act, which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture, on Nov. 5. The bipartisan legislation expands on a measure passed during the Obama administration in 2010 known as the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act.

Under the PACT Act anyone can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or sexually exploiting “living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians. Once convicted suspects would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison. It does contain exceptions for hunting.

Previously, federal law only prohibited animal fighting. Animal cruelty was criminalized but only if the suspect created or sold videos depicting the act.

All 50 states have laws against animal cruelty at the state level. However, with the passing of the PACT Act federal authorities can go after such crimes without the restrictions of following state laws.

The bill is supported by the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

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