House passes bipartisan bill making animal cruelty a federal crime

Offenders could serve up to 7 years in prison

WASHINGTON – House lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday on Capitol Hill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or the PACT Act, specifically bans crushing, burning, drowning and impaling animals, among other abuses. The bill will also allow law enforcement officials to pursue suspected animal abusers who cross state lines.

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan co-sponsored the legislation. He said this will close a loophole that would ban animal cruelty recorded on video. Previous laws have de-legalized creating and selling such videos but not the acts of animal cruelty recorded.

Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch says the legislation sends a message that our society does not accept animal cruelty.

If the U.S. Senate passes the bill and President Trump signs it into law, convicted offenders could serve up to seven years in prison.

CNN contributed to this report.