AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - President Trump is expected to sign a bill making severe animal cruelty and torture a federal crime.
The U.S. Senate unanimously voted this week to pass the P.A.C.T. Act, which bans subjecting animals to serious bodily harm.
The P.A.C.T. Act, which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture, was approved this week by Congress.
“We at Amarillo Management and Welfare feel that this a positive step for animal welfare nationwide. It’s encouraging that people are considering animal cruelty to be such a heinous crime because it is,” said Animal Management and Welfare Assistant Director Christie Fischer.
The current federal law prohibits animal fighting and only criminalizes animal cruelty if the wrongdoers create and sell videos depicting the act.
In 2010, it made it illegal to create, sell, or distribute an “animal crushing” video.
Under the P.A.C.T. Act, a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, or impaling animals or sexually exploiting them.
Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison. The legislation contains exceptions for hunting.
The Potter Country District Attorney says Texas already has laws in place for animal cruelty.
"If there is any change, it might be for use in increasing the efficacy of a case that the federal authorities were already after, and this is the brick in the wall,'' said Potter County District Attorney Scott Brumley.
In addition to preventing horrendous acts against defenseless animals, measures against animal abuse can be a way of giving police a valuable pathway to intervene in cases where an animal abuser might also harm people. For a few years, the F.B.I. has tracked animal abuse in much the same way it tracks arson and assault.