Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Congress Passes Buchanan, Deutch Animal Cruelty Bill

Nov 5, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Senate today unanimously passed legislation introduced by Congressmen Vern Buchanan and Ted Deutch to make animal cruelty a federal offense. The bill passed the House two weeks ago and is expected to be signed by President Trump in the near future.

“This is a milestone for pet owners and animal lovers across the country,” Buchanan said. “For the first time, a national law has been passed by Congress to protect animals from cruelty and abuse.”

The “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act” will outlaw and make it easier to prosecute those involved in the gruesome killing or maiming of animals.

Disturbingly, in so-called “animal crush videos,” individuals brutally kill, mutilate and torture small and defenseless animals as a perverse form of entertainment to be shared over the internet. And while Congress passed legislation in 2010 to prohibit the creation and distribution of these horrific videos, the underlying acts themselves are still legal under federal law.

Buchanan’s legislation will close those loopholes by prohibiting the underlying acts of torture themselves, regardless of whether or not a video is created. Specifically, the PACT Act will amend the federal criminal code to prohibit the intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm. Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison. 

“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I’m proud to work with Congressman Deutch on this important issue.”

"This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws," Deutch said.

The legislation has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and national animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States. Animal abuse can often be the precursor to other violent crimes, one study found that nearly 40 percent of animal abusers had committed violent crimes against humans.

Buchanan chairs the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress and received a 100 percent score from the Humane Society for his leadership and votes in 2018. He is also a past recipient of the Humane Society’s “Legislator of the Year” award.

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