Bill introduced to make animal cruelty a federal felony

FILE - Two U.S. Representatives have introduced a bill making animal cruelty a federal felony. (Photo: WSET)

WASHINGTON (WSET) — Two lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make animal cruelty and bestiality a felony nationwide.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act would target "crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals" along with addressing efforts to sexually exploit them.

Reps. Ted Deutch, (D-Fla.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), the bill's co-sponsors, say if someone is convicted they would spend up to seven years in prison.

"The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," the representatives told the newspaper.

In Virginia, state Senator Bill DeSteph introduced a bill that would make it a felony for anyone who abuses a family pet.

Currently the law in Virginia requires the dog or cat to die as a direct result of torture or inhumane injury or pain before anyone is charged with a felony.

The new law would increase the charge from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony for any unnecessary beating, maiming, mutilating, or killing a dog or cat.

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