Animal Cruelty Now a Federal Felony After President Trump Signs Bill into Law


President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law a bill that closes a loophole and helps protect animals from cruelty for the entertainment of others.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation jointly sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida and Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida, bans what is known as “crushing,” in which people maim and torture animals, NPR reported.

Burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other forms of torture are also banned under the law.

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

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

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The legislation unanimously passed the House in October and cleared the Senate unanimously earlier this month, according to The New York Times.

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

The new legislation expands upon a 2010 law known as the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made it a federal felony to video extreme acts of animal cruelty.

The PACT Act closes a loophole by giving federal officials the power to arrest those who are filmed abusing animals, not just those who made the video, according to Fox News.

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Under the new law, the maximum penalty for those convicted is seven years in prison.

“We have a responsibility to honor the dignity of God’s creation. With today’s act, we take the critical step toward being more responsible and humane stewards of our planet and all who we want to cherish and take care of, and all of those who live on it,” Trump said Monday during an Oval Office signing ceremony, according to a White House media pool report.

Animal cruelty. This is something that should’ve happened a long time ago and it didn’t,” Trump said.

Trump said the “commonsense legislation restricts the creation and distribution of videos or images of animal torture.”

“It is important that we combat these heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty, which are totally unacceptable in a civilized society,” he said.

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During the White House ceremony, Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s for Warriors, put the law into perspective.

“In one stroke of the pen, the president has done more to protect animals and stop animal cruelty in America than anyone in history,” Diamond said.

“That’s incredible.”

The law comes on top of existing animal cruelty laws in all 50 states.

But Sheriff Carolyn Welsh of Chester County, Pennsylvania, said the law will help local areas fight animal abuse.

“On behalf of law enforcement, this is another effort on your part and success on your part to assist federal, state, and local agencies to work together, because animal cruelty — the cruelty of animals, the destruction in the home, domestic violence — everything is related,” she said at the ceremony.

“And what this does is enable law enforcement to work together on the federal, state, and local level to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty,” she added.

During the ceremony, Buchanan thanked the Democrats and Republicans who backed the bill in the House, and expressed gratitude to Trump for supporting the legislation.

“I just wanted to say that this is a big bipartisan win. It takes time, unfortunately — you know better than anybody — to try and get something done up here,” he said.

“But with your leadership — and we’ve got some other good bipartisan wins we’re going to have shortly, I think. But this — this is how it came together. There was a lot of work by a lot of different groups and members of Congress on both sides.”

Advocates for animals said the bill can help change their lives.

“We see animal abuse every day in rescue throughout the southeast, throughout the country. And I really feel that this bill will make people think twice about — before they abuse an animal, and hopefully end the horrific torture that some of these animals endure,” Lauree Simmons, president and founder of Big Dog Ranch Rescue, said.

“Animals are changing in our society. It used to be they were just animals; now they’re family members,” John Thompson, executive director of the National Animal Care and Control Association, said.

“And what you’ve done today has another toolbox in the men and women who — in animal care and control who go out there and fight every day. Sooner or later, we’re going to put an end to this and the evil that comes with it.”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at
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