Hurt an Animal? You May Just Be Charged with a Felony

Animal lovers all over the country are waiting with bated breath for President Trump to sign the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. The bill, which would make awful acts of animal cruelty a federal felony, was passed recently passed by Congress.  Both the House via voice vote, and more recently the Senate were in bipartisan agreement regarding preventing cruel treatment to animals and holding those committing such atrocities accountable. Though they have always been looked at as pieces of property under the law, animals are now gaining more protections. 

The bill was co-sponsored by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and received total bipartisan support.  “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Buchanan. “This is a milestone for pet owners and animal lovers across the country. For the first time, a national law has been passed by Congress to protect animals from cruelty and abuse.” Deutch concurred, expressing that the bill was simply “commonsense, bipartisan legislation” intended to demonstrate greater compassion towards animals. 

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, ceremoniously signed the bill and took to Twitter to share her excitement. “Today, I was honored to sign @RepTedDeutch’s #PACTAct to make animal cruelty a federal offense. Our furry friends, Milo and Prudence were on hand to help me enroll this bipartisan legislation that will now go to the President’s desk!”

Preventing Animal Cruelty

In 1999 the Supreme Court overturned a decision that would ban the posting of animal crushing videos because it felt that such a ban would intrude upon our First Amendment right to free speech. Later in 2010, a law did make it illegal to post or share videos of these heinous acts online. Animal crushing videos commonly consisted of women in sharp heels or stilettos, crushing and ultimately killing small animals. The new bill would build upon the work of the 2010 law, making it illegal to not only share these videos but also to commit the abusive acts seen in them.

The PACT Act, which now says that the crushing of animals would be considered a federal felony, also defines what animal “crushing” means. It recognizes it as the purposeful crushing, suffocation, burning, drowning, impalement, or serious bodily injury to them.  

According to GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, the passage of this bill by Congress should be considered an important milestone. “Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” he explained. “Evidence shows that 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.”

The Attorneys at Arizona Lawyers Help Those in AZ Who Have Been Charged with the Commission of a Crime

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, you should be sure to take it seriously. A criminal conviction can have tremendous life-long effects. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Arizona Criminal Defense attorney. At Arizona Lawyers, we will fight to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!