Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

House Passes Buchanan, Deutch Bill to Make Animal Abuse a Federal Offense

Oct 22, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Tuesday, the U.S. House passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act (H.R. 724), introduced by Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-16) and Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) to criminalize acts of animal cruelty.

In 2010, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. However, the underlying acts of cruelty against animals were not included. The PACT Act closes this loophole by prohibiting certain cases of animal abuse.

A fact sheet for the PACT Act can be 
found here.

H.R. 724 is supported by 297 Democratic and Republican Members of Congress, including Reps. Buchanan and Deutch. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Senate companion, S. 479.

Congressman Vern Buchanan: “The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Congressman Buchanan said. “Passing the PACT Act sends a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated. Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I will continue to work with Congressman Deutch to get this important bill signed into law.”

Congressman Ted Deutch: "Today’s vote is a significant milestone in the bipartisan quest to end animal abuse and protect our pets. This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. We’ve received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum. Animal rights activists have stood up for living things that do not have a voice. Law enforcement officers have sought a federal overlay to help them stop animal abusers who are likely to commit acts of violence against people. And animal lovers everywhere know this is simply the right thing to do. 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.”

Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson: “Over the course of 30 years in animal protection, I have encountered terrible animal cruelties, but acts of intentional torture are the most disturbing because they demonstrate how some people treat the most vulnerable in our society. These malicious acts deserve federal scrutiny and action. Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials will finally have the tools they need to bring those responsible for cruelty to animals to justice. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) are tremendous advocates for animal protection, and we thank them for their leadership in closing this important gap in the law.”

Fraternal Order of Police National President Patrick Yoes: “Our animal friends and companions do not deserve to be tortured and killed for the amusement of sick and twisted individuals and we support the effort to criminalize these activities.”

Major County Sheriffs of America President Sheriff Grady Judd: “The Major County Sheriffs of America supports the PACT Act and commends Representatives Deutch and Buchanan for pushing to close a loophole in federal law. It is illegal to make videos of animal torture, and it should be illegal to commit those types of inhumane atrocities against defenseless animals in the first place. We urge Congress to pass the PACT Act.”

Animal Wellness Foundation Director of Federal Affairs Holly Gann: “Most people are shocked to know that the U.S. does not have a federal animal cruelty law. Enacting this bill sends a signal that our nation has no tolerance for intentional cruelty toward animals.”