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Congress passes bill to make animal cruelty a federal felony

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Congress passes bill to make animal cruelty a federal felony
A Bulldog puppy is seen at the Museum of the Dog in New York City on March 20. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate has voted unanimously to send a bill to President Donald Trump that would make certain types of animal cruelty a federal felony.

Senators on Tuesday night passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, a bipartisan proposal that makes it a federal crime to crush, burn, drown, suffocate, impale or sexually exploit animals. The bill expands on a 2010 law that made it a crime to create and sell videos of animal fighting.

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"Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer," said Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a co-sponsor of the bill. "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."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also sponsored the bill, saying he and Toomey have worked for years to hold "barbaric individuals" accountable for hurting animals.

"There is no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals -- period," he said. "I'm glad that Congress is now finally sending our bill to the president's desk to be signed into law."

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The House passed the bill Oct. 22, sponsored in the lower chamber by Florida Reps. Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan. Deutch said the proposal received support nationwide and from across the political spectrum.

The new law does not interfere with state and local animal cruelty laws. Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

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