<a href="https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Animal-cruelty-bill-passes-senate-headed-for-14819982.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony passes Senate, headed for President's desk</a>  <font color="#6f6f6f">Chron</font>

A bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony is one step closer to officially becoming law.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) unanimously passed the U.S. Senate Nov. 5 and is now headed for President Donald Trump’s desk.

The country’s current animal cruelty law, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, makes it a crime to film and distribute footage of any non-humans being “intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury,”  but it does not make the actual cruelty and abuse a crime, according to a fact sheet of the bill.

If signed into law, PACT would fix this loophole and make the actual abuse or “crushing” of animals illegal, not just the filming and distributing of it. The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Oct. 22 and is sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

If passed into law, violators could face a fine and or up to seven years in jail.

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“Preventing animal cruelty is not partisan; it’s part of our values as a country. I’m proud that this legislation moved so swiftly through Congress, with such broad bipartisan support,” Deutch said in a release. “Our country needs a federal law to prevent abuse against animals. After years of hard work by so many to build support for this bill, we are now one signature away from it becoming the law of the land. I urge President Trump to quickly sign this bill into law and make animal cruelty a federal offense.”

The act applies only to interstate commerce and federal property and would not interfere with local animal cruelty laws or enforcement, per the fact sheet.

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Rebecca Hennes covers community news. Read her on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, houstonchronicle.com. | rebecca.hennes@chron.com