Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act Becomes First National Animal Anti-Cruelty Law

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Washington D.C. Congress - Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act
Photo by Louis Velazquez/Unsplash

On November 25, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, H.R. 724, was signed into law by the president. The bill, led by U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) passed the House and Senate in recent weeks without dissent. The PACT Act establishes the first federal animal anti-cruelty law in American history.

Marty Irby, Animal Wellness Action’s executive director, attended the signing ceremony in the Oval Office along with U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty.

“We’re thrilled to see the first anti-cruelty statute in American history signed into law and applaud President Trump and the Congress for providing the voiceless with a level of protection never seen before,” said Irby. “The PACT Act will allow federal authorities to crack down on the most egregious of animal abusers and help keep American pets safe from harm.”

“For many Americans, their pets are a part of the family—that’s been true in my house, and that’s why the signing of this bill today is such an important milestone,” said Buchanan. “I want to thank all of the animal welfare groups who worked so hard to help get this bill passed and signed into law.”

The PACT Act would prohibit extreme acts of cruelty when they occur in interstate commerce or on federal property and cracks down on widespread sexual abuse of animals (bestiality). While current federal law bans the sale of videos showing illegal acts of cruelty, it does not prohibit the underlying conduct.

Law enforcement agencies across the country, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the Animal Wellness National Law Enforcement Council, have endorsed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act because of the well-documented connection between animal cruelty and violence against people.

The bill obtained a tremendous showing of support with 302 co-sponsors in the House and 41 in the Senate. The Senate bill previously passed the Senate by unanimous consent in the 114th and 115th Congress, but it was blocked in the House at that time by former House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) despite the overwhelming bipartisan support.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. The organization organizes rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and helps homeless pets find a loving caregiver. The organization advocates getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; vaccinating animals against infectious diseases; and also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering.

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