Florida lawmakers introduce bill that would make animal cruelty a felony

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WASHINGTON (WTHR) — Two Florida lawmakers have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would make animal cruelty and bestiality a felony.

WFLA reports Reps. Ted Deutsch, a Democrat, and Vern Buchanan, a Republican, have introduced the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT). The Orlando Sentinel reports a bill similar to PACT has been passed in the Senate twice, but blocked by a former judiciary chairman who is no longer in Congress.

That bill, called the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act would have banned videos that show animal crushing or abuse.

"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," Buchanan said.

The passage of PACT would mean anyone convicted of "crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals" would face up to seven years in prison, along with anyone who sexually exploits animals.

In Indiana, State Sen. J.D. Ford, R-Indianapolis, has introduced a bill that would create an abuse registry for anyone convicted of animal abuse crimes.

The registry would be online and publicly viewable.