House unanimously passes bill to make animal cruelty federal felony

(WSVN) - The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony.

In a press release, Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., announced the passage of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. The bill is now headed to the Senate.

The bill would make it a federal offense to intentionally crush, burn, drown, suffocate, impale or otherwise subject an animal to serious bodily harm.

If convicted, a person would face felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.

If passed, the bill would also close a loophole in a 2010 law that currently only punishes abuse seen in videos.

The bill was introduced in January by Deutch and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.

“This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals,” Deutch said in a statement.

“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Passing the PACT Act sends a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

To read the full bill, click here.

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.