BREAKING NEWS: President Trump signs PACT Act; law will crack down on some of the worst animal cruelty crimes

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on November 25, 2019 with 7 Comments

Starting today, those who commit the most extreme acts of cruelty against animals will face severe federal penalties.

President Trump has just signed into law the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act that authorizes the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to prosecute malicious animal cruelty, including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling live animals, and other abuses such as sexually exploiting them. Under PACT, prosecutors will be able to bring federal felony charges when these acts occur within federal jurisdiction (including on federal property), or when animals are moved across state lines, or the internet is used as part of a criminal enterprise.

This is a day we – and you – have long worked for, and we were honored today to attend the bill signing ceremony at the White House with our colleagues Tracie Letterman and Anna Marie Malloy.

At the White House for the bill signing, from left, Anna Marie Malloy, Kitty Block, Sara Amundson and Tracie Letterman.

Animal cruelty is a felony in all 50 states because of laws we fought hard to put in place. In 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which banned the creation, sale and distribution of obscene videos depicting extreme acts of animal cruelty. But as our Animal Protection Litigation team discovered, the law had a glaring loophole — federal law enforcement could not take legal action if the animal cruelty occurred within federal jurisdiction, unless a video was produced.

After that law passed, HSUS attorneys and HSLF legislative staff worked with members of Congress to lay the groundwork for the introduction and passage of the PACT Act. Now, as a result of this law, federal law enforcement and prosecutors will have recourse when the crimes occur on federal property, such as national parks or federal prisons, or in interstate commerce, regardless of whether a video was produced.

We applaud President Trump for signing this bill, and we are deeply grateful to the lead sponsors – Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and former Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas – as well as all the U.S. Senators and Representatives who cosponsored and voted for the PACT Act. We would also like to thank the president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump and animal advocate and entrepreneur Blair Brandt for championing this bill and helping to shepherd it into law.

The Senate passed this common-sense bill unanimously twice, in the 114th and 115th Congresses, but the former House Judiciary Chairman, Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., repeatedly blocked it from coming to the floor. This time, with the support of current Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., one of the bill’s original cosponsors, the bill went to the House floor and was unanimously approved.

We are also extremely grateful to you, our supporters, who are the strongest voice on our side. You tirelessly called and wrote to your members of Congress to help pass PACT, and you made all the difference. This law will ensure that those who hurt animals shamelessly, callously, and without remorse do not go scot-free. The passage of a national anti-cruelty law is a historic moment, and it sets the stage for continuing progress in our work to build out federal protections for all animals.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Brian O'Neill says:

    Who says Trump isn’t good for anything? Now, go get impeached and removed from office you thieving, lying fraud. That would be REALLY GOOD, too.

    • Ed Stepec says:

      Brian, your comments are inappropriate. Post your comments that reflect HSUS values here and your politics on CNN forum. We are saving animals and sharing opinions on animals. Not politics.

  2. Tina Marie says:

    Thank you! Please keep fighting the good fight.

  3. Cathy Hunnicutt says:

    I want to know if the PACT still has the SORING of Walking horses and doping of race horse and dogs in it. It was supposed to cover all this.???

    • Terry Crowell Kindley says:

      You are thinking of the PAST act which is to prevent the soring of horses. It was one of the bills that had passed the House, but was tabled by Trump ashen he came to office and Mitch McConnell has sent it back to committee since he receives large donations from the Big Lick horse owners. It has had enough bipartisan support to have passed since 2016, but McConnelll wonyylet it be presented to the Senste. Hopefully, Biden’s administration will see it through. There is also a modified bill being considered but I won’t comment on that . This bill did not involve any animals except horses and that was mainly TWHs.

  4. Ellen Young says:

    It’s wonderful that this has finally happen…it should of happen long before now but I’m glad that it’s done !
    Now we must enforce it…what good is it to have it and not use it.
    Those that neglect , abuse animals must be punished to the fullest extent
    possible. If we are ever going to survive we ALL need to change things.
    We can do better and we absolutely must as a society and who knows perhaps we can make things better in many ways

  5. Joe Sandri says:

    Good job! Congratulations on getting the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act through Congress and signed by President Trump. Hopefully this will lead to greater awareness of, and kindness towards, the millions and millions of animals in our collective care.

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