U.S. House passes bill that would make animal cruelty a felony

Politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – House lawmakers have passed a bill that makes animal cruelty a federal felony.

The so-called “Pact Act” specifically bans crushing, burning, drowning and impaling animals, among other things.

It would also allow officials to go after suspected animal abusers who cross state lines.

According to its co-sponsor, Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan, it would also close a big loophole.

His office says the bill would specifically ban animal cruelty recorded on video.

Previous laws have delegalized creating and selling those videos but not the acts of cruelty in them.

Another co-sponsor of the bill, Democrat Ted Deutch, says the legislation sends a clear message that our society does not accept animal cruelty.

At the same time, Ohio is also considering increased penalties for animal abusers.

Senate Bill 205 is co-sponsored by local Sen. Sean O’Brien, who testified Wednesday in support of it.

The bill redefines the most egregious acts of violence against animals and raises the offenses for those from first-degree misdemeanors and fifth-degree felonies to third-degree felonies. The bill also creates the crime of aiding and abetting companion animal cruelty, a fourth-degree felony.

“Numerous studies have found a relationship between animal abuse and violence against people,” said O’Brien. “We hope to make the penalties fit these extremely heinous crimes and, in the process, prevent violent crimes from being committed against people. Offenders need to receive more than a slap on the wrist for harming companion animals in Ohio.”

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