A proposed bill that has bi-partisan support would make animal cruelty a federal felony.

CNN reports that U.S. Rep Ted Deutch (D-FL) and U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan (R-FL) have introduced the PACT Act, believing it will remove the shortcomings of current U.S. laws on animal cruelty. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act would allow federal authorities to go after animal abusers across the country.

While federal law prohibits dog fighting and criminalizes animal cruelty if it’s caught on video and distributed, only state laws have in-depth punishment for criminals. This creates complications if the abused animals cross state lines.

The PACT Act intends to broaden the power of prosecutors to address this gap.

“This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws,” Rep. Deutch said. “We’ve acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos; now it’s time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well.”

Under the PACT Act, a person found guilty of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, and impaling animals and sexually exploiting them could face fines and up to seven years in prison. The bill does feature exceptions for hunting, normal vet care and protecting life and/or property from a dangerous animal.

The bill’s supporters include endorsements by the National Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

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Photo credit: Michigan Humane Society

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