On Nov. 25, 2019, President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan bill that makes animal cruelty a federal felony punishable for up to seven years in prison. The Senate passed the proposal called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) on Nov. 5, 2019. It was created to expand upon the 2010 law, which banned animal torture videos. The extended bill makes intentional acts of animal cruelty found on video felony offenses, as hosting animal fights is already prohibited by federal law. The only exceptions to this bill are: This bill does not apply to those who hunt, fish, or slaughter animals for food. Additional exemptions exist for medical or scientific research, the necessity to protect the life or property of a person, performed as part of euthanizing an animal, or is unintentional. 

“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,” president and chief executive of the Humane Society, Kitty Block said. “For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.”

Vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance, Chris Schindler wrote about the importance of this law in the District of Columbia, where Animal cruelty cases often cross multiple jurisdictions

 “Our officers investigate thousands of animal cruelty cases each year, but have been unable to truly bring justice for the animals in instances when the cruelty occurs across multiple jurisdictions,” he said. “The PACT Act is a necessary tool for us to provide further protections for animals and our community, and will ensure some of the most horrific acts of animal cruelty are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The bill, which passed through Senate unanimously, is being celebrated by politicians and activists alike, who believe this bill will prevent future violence. 

“Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” Senator Pat Toomey said when the bill was introduced to the Senate. “Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties.”

As news of this Jurisdiction spreads, students are researching and expressing their opinion on this bill. 

“I think it’s a very good law,” Klein Cain Junior, Jacob Avelar said. “As an animal lover, I think it’s our responsibility to take care of them. To bring harm to any living thing should be taken seriously.”