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Most Animal Cruelty Isn’t a Federal Crime. The House Just Passed a Bill to Change That.



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Many acts of animal cruelty are closer to becoming federal felonies after the House’s unanimous passage Tuesday of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.
If passed by the Senate and enacted, the bill will outlaw purposeful crushing, burning, drowning, suffocation, impalement or other violence causing “serious bodily injury” to animals. Violations could result in a fine as well as up to seven years’ imprisonment.
Advocates say the PACT Act would fill crucial gaps in national law, which only bans animal fighting as well as the making and sharing of videos that show the kind of abuse the PACT Act would criminalize. All states have provisions against animal cruelty, said Kitty Block, president of the Humane Society of the United States, but without a federal ban, it’s hard to prosecute cases that span different jurisdictions or that occur in airports, military bases and other places under federal purview.

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