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Local activists react to new federal animal cruelty law

Posted at 7:15 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 19:21:07-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — President Donald Trump signed a federal law Monday, making animal cruelty a felony, regardless of what state the alleged crime is committed, whether it’s caught on camera or not.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture or PACT Act would protect animals like Chance, who was found in Lehigh Acres with his mouth taped shut earlier this year.

The law could bring felony charges against someone accused of burning, drowning, suffocating or causing injury to animals, no matter where in the U.S. the alleged crime happens. It would allow prosecutors to handle cases that cross state lines.

Brad Talbott with Anonymous for the Voiceless, an animal and environment activist group, said the new law will remind everyone of the abuse that goes on behind closed doors that doesn’t go viral.

“Anecdotal horror stories are what get people’s attention. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of where all suffering takes place,” he said. “Nobody thinks about it, because it’s not going on right in front of them.”

The PACT Law extends the animal cruelty law passed in 2010 that made the recording and sales of animal cruelty videos illegal. This law makes the actual cruelty a crime.

Justin Clark also with Anonymous for the Voiceless said this could be the beginning of the end for animal cruelty.

“I think the moral compass that it’s setting is definitely in the right direction. I think it’s a great step towards stopping animal cruelty in general,” he said.

Talbott added the law may not outright end cruelty, but could serve as a warning for people considering abusing animals.

“It can only do so much, because it’s only going to be the stories you catch. And people might think twice before they do something like that,” he said.

The law does not apply to people who hunt, fish or slaughter animals for food.