WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Some animal abusers can now be charged with federal crimes.
President Donald Trump signed a new law Monday aimed at targeting people who torture animals and post videos of the horror online.
The Protecting Animals Against Cruelty and Torture, or PACT Act, is now law and gives the feds power to go after some animal abusers.
“It’s very exciting to be at this juncture at a time when there is so much in D.C. that isn’t getting done,” said Sara Amundson, with the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Amundson has pushed for years to make the act a law.
“What the PACT Act will do is ensure that egregious crimes against animals that transpire on federal property are prosecuted accordingly,” she said.
It also allows people who kill or torture animals and then post those videos online to be charged with a crime as well.
Congress previously made posting those videos a federal offense but the actual abusive act wasn’t.
“Any other type of animal cruelty has not been banned on the federal level, that’s what the PACT Act will do,” Amundson said.
One of the bill’s cosponsors, Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), spoke about the need to end federal animal abuse loopholes earlier this year.
“But this will close a lot of the doors,” Buchanan said.
The law also addresses abuse that involves some kind of interstate commerce.
Every state has animal abuse laws on the books, but some cases are difficult to prosecute when exact jurisdiction isn’t clear.
“It’s prevalent enough for the U.S. Congress to care and for President Trump to sign this into law,” Amundson said.
With Trump’s signature, the law becomes immediately enforcable.