House passes bill making animal cruelty a federal felony

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The House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony, regardless of individual state law. The bill, known as the The PACT ACT, builds on a previous law passed in 2010 that only prohibited animal fighting and penalized those who created and/or sold videos depicting the actual animal cruelty acts, according to a report from CNN.

PACT, which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture, goes further, the report said, as it allows authorities to pursue perpetrators since they now will have federal jurisdiction and will not be bound by state laws. They can also prosecute offenders if the cruelty occurs on federal property. The act includes crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and sexually exploiting animals. There are exceptions for hunting.

Offenders would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison. The bill now needs to pass the Senate which, according to CNN, is not currently scheduled to vote on it. The bill is endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police, the report said.

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