Two Florida congressmen fighting against animal cruelty

Animal Sheltering.org photo by Ezra Millstein

Two Florida members of Congress want to make it a federal crime to abuse an animal.

Boca Raton Democrat Ted Deutch and Sarasota Republican Vern Buchanan are the main sponsors of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which was passed by unanimous consent by the U.S. Senate last year. It also had a majority of supporters in the House as well, but never came up for a final vote.

Supporters say the chances of passing the bill  are much greater this time around due to some procedural changes.

The PACT Act builds on the federal animal “crush video” law passed in 2010, which banned obscene videos that show animals being crushed or abused.

Florida and every other state in the nation has felony penalties for malicious cruelty to animals, but there is no federal law for malicious cruelty when it involves federal property or interstate commerce. It’s endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.

“This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to bring some compassion to our animal laws,” said Congressman Deutch. “For many Americans, animal welfare is an important policy issue, and the idea of animal abuse is abhorrent. By building on state and local laws, Congress should act to guarantee a level of protection for animals across the country by criminalizing these inhumane acts.”

“Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Congressman Deutch on this important issue,” Congressman Buchanan said.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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