Pelosi ceremoniously signs bill to make animal cruelty a federal crime with unanimous support from Congress

by Ellie Bufkin | November 16, 2019 11:22 AM

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ceremoniously signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act that will make many versions of animal cruelty a federal crime.

The bill, introduced and co-sponsored by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, passed unanimously in the House in October and the Senate last week. The bill now only needs the signature of President Trump to become law.

“Today, I was honored to sign @RepTedDeutch’s #PACTAct to make animal cruelty a federal offense,” Pelosi tweeted Friday along with photos from the signing. “Our furry friends, Milo and Prudence, were on hand to help me enroll this bipartisan legislation that will now go to the President’s desk!”

The PACT Act specifically targets crimes against animals considered “crushing,” which is described in the legislation as protecting animals from being “purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.” The bill follows a 2010 law that prevented such activities from being published on video.

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, a co-sponsor of the bill, lauded its impact after its unanimous passage in the upper chamber on Nov. 6.

“Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” he said. “Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties.”

Animal crushing videos typically include women in stilettos or other spiked shoes crushing small animals to death. The videos were initially banned in the United States in 1999, but that decision was overturned by the Supreme Court citing concerns about free speech. The 2010 law addressed the concerns espoused by the court and passed with bipartisan support.

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