Animal Cruelty is a Federal Crime: PACT Act Law Passed

On November 25, 2019, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, a federal anti-cruelty bill, was passed and is now law.

This animal protection measure sailed through the House of Representatives and the Senate with unanimous support and was signed by (former) President Trump.

Humane groups that worked for the bill’s passage are hailing the new law as a defining moment for establishing federal protections for animals. While all 50 states have felony provisions against animal cruelty, there’s no federal ban against animal cruelty and torture. There was a gap in the law. As a result of the PACT Act, federal law enforcement and prosecutors will finally have the tools they need to go after those who commit malicious acts of animal cruelty within federal jurisdiction with the full force of felony penalties.

“PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “The approval of this measure by the Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law. For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.”

Studies repeatedly show that there is a close link between extreme animal cruelty and violence toward people. By bringing charges against perpetrators of animal cruelty, we may be able to prevent individuals with a propensity for harming people from acting on those impulses.

“… Animal cruelty is no longer just unacceptable, it is now illegal,” said Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. “We can now finally say that animal abuse is a federal crime in the United States. Americans have long stood in support of animal welfare protections, and now our national laws reflect these values. This bipartisan achievement has been years in the making, and I am proud to have been a part of this great effort alongside Congressman Buchanan and so many advocates and passionate citizens who made this possible.”

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


Full text of the Humane Society Press Release here: