Alexandria, VA

By Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Duckett of Steve Duckett, Attorney at Law

For several years there has been a bipartisan effort to create a bill to make animal cruelty a Federal crime.

That day has now come, thanks to The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which was signed by President Trump last November. This act has made animal cruelty a Federal crime, which will help ensure the prosecution of criminals who commit animal cruelty who cross state lines.

Animal activists have argued for years that, although many states already have laws against animal cruelty, these laws were not enough to prosecute criminals who cross state lines, which often happens in these cases. The same goes for criminals who commit acts of animal cruelty in different jurisdictions.

PACT also bans multiple aspects of animal cruelty. Critically among these is the popularity of “animal crush” videos, which are on the rise online. These videos depict animal cruelty, whether through photos, film, or digital recordings. Additionally, this law bans serious harm to living nonhuman mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians, as well as violence against animals such as intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement.

The penalties for animal cruelty under this new law are severe. If found guilty, a person will likely have to pay a fine, along with the possibility to serve a prison term of up to seven years. What’s more, this law was endorsed by several well-known law enforcement groups, including the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Internal Order of the Police.

Both law enforcement groups have said they believe there’s a link between people who commit extreme animal cruelty and violence against humans, which is the primary reason behind their support this new law. Senator Blumenthal, D-Conn, who worked for a long time to ensure this act was passed, also stated that PACT will be a huge step toward eradicating animal crulety and torture.

Lastly, this new law also received the support of the Humane Society, which released a statement through their CEO Kitty Block. In her statement, she said that this new law is a reflection of American values and that animals deserve our continued protection.

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