New bill makes animal cruelty a felony

President Donald Trump has signed a bill to make animal cruelty a felony nationwide.

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act makes some of the most egregious forms of animal cruelty (specifically crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling, or sexual exploitation) in or affecting interstate commerce or  within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States a federal crime, according to Animal Legal Defense Plan.

“It’s about damn time,” said Sally Berryman, co-president of Coffee County Humane Society. “We have seen too many cases of animal cruelty in Coffee County – with no recourse – at the Manchester Animal Shelter, at the Tullahoma Animal Shelter, at the Coffee County Humane Society and several rescue groups.”

"This is long overdo and my sincere hope is that it will go a long way to protect our furry friends who have no voice," said Hazel Fannin with the Coffee County Humane Society.   

Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell said he’s “glad the bill battling animal cruelty was signed."

“I don’t like to see any animals abused,” Cordell said. "As much as I am concerned about animal life, I am also concerned about the sanctity of human life and the abortion crisis we currently have.”

PACT is sponsored by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Representative Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL). Trump signed the bill Monday.

Though animal fighting and the distribution of so-called “crush videos” are illegal under federal law, the vast majority of animal cruelty laws are at the state level. The PACT Act creates a corresponding federal animal cruelty statute.

In “crush” videos, people torture, crush, and kill small animals, such as puppies and hamsters, for the titillation of viewers.

The Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act banned the creation and distribution of these animal torture videos in 2010. The PACT Act goes a step further and bans the underlying animal cruelty contained in them. Specifically, it prohibits “animal crushing in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce” regardless of whether the act is for a crush video, according to Animal Legal Defense Plan.

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