President Trump signs animal cruelty bill into law, making it a federal felony originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
The bipartisan bill, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, criminalizes certain acts of animal cruelty. The bill was passed in the Senate by unanimous decision on Nov. 5 after being approved in the House in late October.
"Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said earlier this month when the bill, which Toomey sponsored along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., passed in the Senate. "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."
The bill, introduced in the House by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., is an expansion on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of "animal crushing" videos illegal.
The underlying acts, which were not included in the 2010 bill, are part of the PACT Act.
It will make it a federal crime for "any person to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce," according to a fact sheet of the bill.
After Senate approval, the bill was sent to the president's desk for signature.
"I’m deeply thankful for all of the advocates who helped us pass this bill, and I look forward to the Senate’s swift passage and the president’s signature," Deutch said in a statement when the House first passed the bill on Oct. 22.
The historic law was also praised by the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Kitty Block, and the head of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson.
"PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level," Block said in a statement. "The approval of this measure by the Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law. For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality."
"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," Amundson said. "We cannot change the horrors of what animals have endured in the past, but we can crack down on these crimes moving forward. This is a day to celebrate."
ABC News' Kelly McCarthy contributed to this report.