New bill would make extreme animal cruelty a federal felony

The PACT Act has been reintroduced by Florida lawmakers as a way to help put an end to animal cruelty. Learn more about this proposed federal bill.

At the end of January, two lawmakers from Florida proposed the reintroduction of a bill that would make extreme animal cruelty a federal offense. While federal law currently prohibits animal fighting and the act of videotaping acts of animal cruelty, there are loopholes that allow animal abuse that occurs on federal land and in interstate commerce. Congressman Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan think the PACT (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) Act will close this gap.

Each state is currently responsible for prosecuting malicious acts of animal cruelty that occur within their state lines. But if the criminal is caught in a different state than where he committed the abuse, he cannot be prosecuted for animal cruelty. The PACT Act allows federal prosecutors to pursue charges against those who committed abuses before crossing state lines, as well as in online forums, national parks or on military bases, reserves or any other federal lands. The bill would pertain to anyone who intentionally crushes, burns, drowns, suffocates, impales or sexually exploits animals, or otherwise subjects them to serious bodily harm.

According to Rep. Deutch, this is a “bipartisan, common-sense policy that will protect our animals. We’ve acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos; now it’s time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well.” Those prosecuted under the PACT Act would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.

To learn more about PACT Act, visit