Animal Cruelty is Now a Federal Crime

President Donald Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT Act) on November 25, 2019, making animal cruelty a felony offense under federal law. A conviction of this federal crime can lead to a maximum seven-year prison term and fines.

Under the new legislation, a person can be charged with federal animal cruelty for the following acts:

  1. Crushing
  2. Drowning
  3. Burning
  4. Impaling
  5. Suffocating
  6. Sexually exploiting

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), passed the Senate earlier this month and expands the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, which was signed by President Barack Obama. That law banned the ownership, sale, and publication of “crush videos” that feature individuals fatally crushing or trampling on smaller animals and recording the incidents to satisfy a crush fetish.

Currently, all 50 states have enacted animal cruelty laws at the state level. Yet, animal rights advocates said creating a federal law was necessary to prosecute cases that affected multiple jurisdictions or states.

Abusing, neglecting, or otherwise being cruel to an animal in Massachusetts in a felony crime, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years, up to two and a half years in the house of corrections, and/or a maximum $2,500 fine. State animal cruelty is defined as denying an animal food, water, shelter, protection, or sanitation, overworking an animal until collapse or exhaustion, torturing or allowing an animal to be tortured, leaving an animal in a parked vehicle on a hot day, hoarding animals, or intentionally abandoning an animal.

If you have been charged with a federal crime in Boston, contact Brad Bailey Law today at (617) 500-0252 and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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