House passes bill that would make animal cruelty a felony offense

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A woman holds a dog rescued after being found with its ears and top of scalp cut off, as animal rights activists stage a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Hundreds joined the protest, which is part of an international movement, calling for harsher punishments in cases of cruelty against animals and an end to all animal oppression. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KGET) — U.S. House legislators have passed a bill that would make animal cruelty a felony.

According to the Congress website, lawmakers passed HR 724, known as the PACT Act, on Tuesday. The bill, sponsored by Congressmen Theodore Deutch and Vern Buchanan, would make animal abuse a felony that could net abusers up to seven years in prison. 

Animal abuse, referred to as “animal crushing” in the bill, includes crushing, burning, drowning, suffocation or any other kind of serious bodily injury, according to the bill. 

In addition, the bill would also make it illegal to distribute videos depicting animal cruelty outside of the state it was created in. Videos depicting animal cruelty sent to law enforcement are considered “good faith” distriubutions and would be exempt under this law. 

 “Today’s vote is a significant milestone in the bipartisan quest to end animal abuse and protect our pets,” Deutch said in a press release. “This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. I’m deeply thankful for all of the advocates who helped us pass this bill, and I look forward to the Senate’s swift passage and the president’s signature.”

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