WASHINGTON (WHTM) – The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed legislation to make certain acts of animal cruelty a federal felony.
The Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act was approved Tuesday and is now headed to President Donald Trump for his signature. The U.S. House unanimously passed the measure last month.
The PACT Act is an expansion of the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act that outlawed the creation, sale and distribution of so-called “animal crush videos” — where people kill, mutilate and torture animals in videos shared over the internet — but allowed the acts of cruelty to go unpunished.
The new law prohibits intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm.
The bill contains exceptions for normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), who co-sponsored a Senate version of the bill, said the legislation would ensure that people found guilty of torturing animals face felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison.
“Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” Toomey said in a statement. “Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties.”