Buchanan’s federal anti-animal cruelty bill becomes law

A sweeping bipartisan bill offered by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) making extreme forms of animal cruelty and torture a federal offense received the president’s signature on Monday making it law.

Rep. Buchanan on Nov. 25 attended the bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House along with U.S. President Donald Trump and representatives from animal welfare organizations.

“For many Americans, their pets are a part of their family,” said Rep. Buchanan, co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus. “That’s been true in my home and that’s why the signing of this bill today is such an important milestone.”

The congressman in January signed on as the lead original cosponsor of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, H.R. 724, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL). The bill gained 300 more congressional cosponsors.

“I want to thank Ted and all the animal welfare groups who worked so hard to help get this bill passed and signed into law,” Rep. Buchanan said.

The measure will prohibit intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Buchanan’s office, and anyone convicted of such crimes will face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison, among other provisions.

“This is a day to celebrate,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “After decades of work to protect animals and bearing witness to some of the worst cruelty, it’s so gratifying the Congress and president unanimously agreed that it was time to close the gap in the law and make malicious animal cruelty within federal jurisdiction a felony.”

Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, commended “Rep. Buchanan’s tireless work” on advocating for the bill.

“We’re thrilled to see the first anti-cruelty statute in American history signed into law and applaud President Trump and the Congress for providing the voiceless with a level of protection never seen before,” Irby said.