After the PACT Act

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act amends federal criminal code to prohibit intentional animal cruelty acts when they occur during interstate commerce or on federal property. Here’s what that means for local law enforcement.
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Legislation classifying some animal cruelty crimes as federal felonies made headlines when it became law in November. Now some animal welfare advocates wonder exactly how the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act will affect anticruelty laws on a local level.

All 50 states have laws that classify animal cruelty crimes as felonies and misdemeanors that carry various penalties. However, those laws only allow authorities to enforce the anticruelty statutes within their own jurisdictions.

Introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in January by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), the PACT Act amends federal criminal code to prohibit intentional animal cruelty acts when they occur during interstate commerce or on federal property. It also addresses sexual abuse of animals (bestiality).

The U.S. House passed the act on Oct. 22; the Senate passed its twin bill two weeks later; and on Nov. 25 President Donald J. Trump signed it into law

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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