Breaking News: Key Lawmakers Propose Federal Anti-Cruelty Measure

By on May 13, 2015 with 38 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

A group of senior Republicans and Democrats, including key members of the House Judiciary Committee, have introduced the nation’s first-ever general federal animal cruelty bill – the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. The PACT Act (H.R. 2293) would empower the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Attorneys to prosecute animal abuse cases that cross state lines. For example, it would empower federal prosecutors to pursue the intentional abuse of an animal in a car traveling on an interstate highway, in a federal facility, or in a business selling pets across state lines.

Former House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and senior Judiciary Committee member Ted Deutch (D-FL), along with committee member and former U.S. Attorney Tom Marino (R-PA) and Congressional Animal Protection Caucus leader Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), are leading the bill. They were joined today by staunch conservatives and senior committee members Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Steve Chabot (R-OH); another former U.S. Attorney, Patrick Meehan (R-PA); and animal protection leaders and senior committee members Jerold Nadler (D-NY) and Steve Cohen (D-TN).

Last year, the FBI began its work with local law enforcement to track animal abuse incidents in its Uniform Crime Report for the first time ever, in recognition of the severity of these crimes. The information collected on the animal abuse incidents will help law enforcement prioritize resources for combatting these crimes.

While there is no federal anti-cruelty statute, the federal government has already put a stake in the ground on animal cruelty issues, and worked to complement state law forbidding animal cruelty with federal statutes. There is a federal law that prohibits the trade in obscene “crush” videos, but there’s no penalty for the underlying acts of abuse if no video is ever created. The PACT Act would patch that gap by allowing for the criminal prosecution of puppy mill operators and others who intentionally drown, suffocate, or otherwise heinously abuse their animals.

Over the last three decades, we’ve gone state-by-state to make malicious animal cruelty a felony in every state (just four states treated animal cruelty as a felony when we began in the mid-1980s). This Act is necessary to fortify that legal framework – equipping federal prosecutors to intervene when animal cruelty extends beyond the reach, ability, or will of state prosecutors to stop it. This is similar to the legal framework on animal fighting. Every state has laws against animal fighting, but the federal government has a strong statute as well that allows it to intervene in cases where warranted, especially when people involved in an enterprise are involved from multiple states or across state lines.

The FBI enforces over 90 federal crimes – from bank robbery and kidnapping to credit card fraud and sports bribery – but currently lacks the authority to pursue extreme cases of animal abuse. It’s long past time that Congress lets the FBI and U.S. Attorneys pursue animal abusers – especially given the well-documented link between animal abuse and other violent crimes.

Please take action today to urge your representative to cosponsor the PACT Act. This tightening of our legal framework makes good sense, and it is good policy. People who engage in malicious acts of cruelty to animals are a threat to us all in society, and when their crimes are brought to light, they must be brought to justice.

Animal Rescue and Care, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. myra bravo says:

    Stop all animal abuse and torture, even for slaughter.

  2. Kate Nash says:

    It is about time this happened!! I cannot express the happiness that I feel, knowing that people will no longer be able to treat animals like they are garbage. They have feelings just like we do and they feel pain, when all they do is what to give love. I say, “Look ’em up and throw away the key,” to those that abuse innocent animals. Thank you to all that have worked to make this a success.

  3. John Murray says:

    Please stop this horrific cruelty.

  4. John Murray says:

    Please protect these poor defenseless animals

  5. Deborah Wessells says:

    Make it against the law stop animal cruelty

  6. Jackie Foster says:

    Awesome! Many times animal cruelty is a precursor to human violence.

    The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

  7. Dr. Isabella Marcotrigiano says:

    I urge all Legislators to sign a Public Policy making Animal Cruelty & Care a serious penalty law. Those who engage in animal cruelty or neglect are serious criminals who will eventually turn their aggression on people if they are not punished for their malicious crime against animals. Animals have no voice so it is up to us to provide a law that speaks for them against cruelty.

  8. cindy matlock says:

    It is about time that something can be done to people who abuse animals.
    But passing a law and enforcing a law are two different things.
    We have laws now in texas on chaining a dog, but when you call the non-emergency police department or animal control, you are only told that they do not have enough officers to enforce it. When you witness somebody dump animals and run over them and you get it a picture and license plate number and you report, nothing gets done. If I was to run a red light or speed I would get a ticket for that, but no one enforces the abuse of animals.
    until, our government officials decide to set up funds to cover the hiring of employee’s to enforce the laws, they are just a piece of paper, not good for anything.

    • Bonnie Heimbigner says:

      Cindy, you hit the nail on the head about having laws against animal cruelty but there’s never enough people to handle the problem. When you have pictures and all the proof that an animal was abused or killed and you get told, “sorry, but we don’t have anyone to help you on this”. To me that’s ludicrous! The other problem, how do you track people that abuse or kill animals & post on Facebook or any other internet social network? I saw something on Pintrest that absolutely made me sick to my stomach, plus the caption stated it was put on Facebook. This creep of a man was shown with his pitbull dog alive at his feet, then three other pictures showing the poor dog tied to this jerk’s BBQ, the BBQ on and showed progressively how this poor dog was burned alive. I’m sure things like this happen all over but no one knows. There’s just so much wrong with how out animals are treated like this & usually, if caught, just get a small fine, a slap on the wrist, & let go so they can do it again! I pray, with Cindy, that our country can afford to employ the manpower to catch & prosecute these murderers. This country puts so many millions into projects & other things that are worthless & a total waste of money, why can’t the US invest in protecting & saving our wonderful gift of animals & prosecuting & putting these murderers in prison. This includes the nasty trophy hunting trade. We appear to be plain tyrants! I personally don’t want another Jeffery Dahlmer or Son of Sam running around. Thank you.

  9. Elizabeth Mullins says:

    It’s about time people realize that animals have feelings and can feel pain and are as innocent as newborn babies and should be nurtured and cared for the same.

  10. Dee Baranoski says:

    This is just a beginning, as it is WAY OVERDUE. We, as SO CALLED HUMAN BEING’S, need to do so much more for the Precious Animals that inhabit this planet. I am glad that some people are finally taking this Seriously.

  11. Lisa Taylor says:

    It is of the up most importance to pass the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. These people are more than likely a threat to humans. It takes a sick person to hurt an animal so they need treatment/punishment…please pass the PACT.

  12. Becky says:

    just one more reason to stop people travelling for no reason other than to intimidate? anytime something becomes a federal issue there is ALWAYS a hidden way to track and control the movements of people. this is just one more step towards martial law! I love animals but stay one your toes people!!!

    • Anne says:

      This has nothing to do with people, but the cruelty inflicted on animals. Its not about you, ok. Animals deserve to live in peace, away from pain and suffering.

    • Jennifer Issa says:

      Becky you are a discusting human being! I would so much like to see you tortured and thrown in a cage. Animals have as much of a right to live on this earth as they are loving feeling creatures. Unfortunately you are the lesser species and should be discarded from this planet!

      • Brewer says:

        Jennifer calm down look i believe animals should not be abused but you you are being a complete jerk about it to Becky. listen people can have their own opinion and should not be harassed for it so just calm down.

  13. Angie breeden says:

    Finally!!! Our voices CAN be heard. Thanks to all who worked so hard to get to this point!! It boggles my mind and crushes my heart to see what some people will do to an animal– with ZERO conscious Thank you

  14. Silvia Medina says:

    It’s just the beginning, so much cruelty against animals has to stop.

  15. Lisa Klics says:

    Please push forward with this legislature. Animal rights are dear to my heart.

  16. GC says:

    Excellent news. I hope this will include wildlife as well. The FBI wouldn’t have to work too hard to find them since the idiot abusers post photos and videos of themselves.

  17. Dona says:

    Long overdue & desperately needed legislation! Far too many state jurisdictions have been complicit themselves in the heinous animal cruelty crisis in America by their appallingly lenient prosecutions. Have signed and shared the petition virally!

  18. Sally Hambleton says:

    Stop abusing animals!

  19. Sally Hambleton says:

    Stop animal abuse!

  20. EYG says:

    Let’s hope it’s not watered down to leave loopholes that render the bill useless, as is often the case. I am cautiously optimistic.

  21. Amanda D says:

    It’s about time My prayers have been answered. The government finally did something right

  22. KWebers says:

    Law enforcement and the court systems know that those who abuse/kill animals are very likely to abuse/kill humans. See the history of any/every mass-murderer/serial killer that you can find … . it’s a certainty that they first tortured/killed animals before targeting people.

    Our lawmakers, politicians, as well as our court/judicial systems fail us here.

    Demand harsher penalties for violence against animals.
    A greater discouragement is a start to a safer society. And that’s good for our animals, too.

  23. Janice L says:

    We need more than ever now, in states that will not protect ,some pretty bad people out there..,

  24. Kristi von Karowsky-Nelson says:

    I sure hope the PACT Act passes – it is about time we had a FEDERAL law against animal cruelty!

  25. Deborah Johnson says:

    Please WE OUR THEIR VOICES!!!!

  26. Anne says:

    Make crime against animals a felony, not a misdemeanor. Animals are not some objects, they are not commodities, they are living beings just like us. Its long overdue for humans to give them the respect they deserve. Its really tiring, nowadays, pick up the news to read, and left and right animal abuse stories. When is our society going to stop hurting animals. This is a mean cruel world filled with evil beings.

  27. NAI says:


  28. Tyree McMann says:

    Invaluable writing , I am thankful for the analysis , Does anyone know where my company could obtain a fillable a form example to fill in ?

  29. Ally weekly says:

    Many prayers answered! I’m proud to see PACT Act has gone to congress. Fight fight everyone!!! We owe it to all the innocent animals on this planet. It’s ashame this has existed way too long … Looks like we are on our way to end this.
    Thank you Lisa and ken vanderPump you are my heros.
    Ally in Seattle

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