WASHINGTON – A couple of lawmakers representing Florida in Congress have introduced the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act in an effort to make animal cruelty and bestiality a felony nationwide.
The proposed law would override municipal and state laws which vary on the level of illegality, misdemeanor or felony, that animal cruelty is classified under. A violation of the law, as proposed, would be seven years in prison.
Representatives Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan are following up on a 2010 law that made it illegal to produce videos of small animals being killed for the sake of entertainment online.
The Animal Cruelty Crush Video Prohibition Act was an update to a law deemed unconstitutional. While it prohibited “the sale, marketing, exchange, or distribution of such videos in interstate or foreign commerce,” it did not make the act of killing the animals illegal.
“We’ve acted in the past to stop the horrific trend of animal abuse videos. Now it’s time to make the underlying acts of cruelty a crime as well,” Rep. Deutch told the Orlando Sentinel.
Under current Colorado law, animal abuse is usually a misdemeanor with a maximum of 18 months in jail. Often, violators are ordered to take anger management courses and pay a mandatory fine instead of receiving jail time.
The penalties for a second-time offender can include 1 to 3 years in prison and a hefty fine with mandatory parole after release.