After push, House passes animal cruelty legislation

Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Brindisi: Cracking down on animal abuse unites Democrats and Republicans; we need to give law enforcement tools they need to hold abusers accountable

Following a push by Congressman Anthony Brindisi, the House of Representatives passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act of 2019. Brindisi, a leader in the fight against animal abuse, was a cosponsor of the measure. This legislation creates a federal animal cruelty statute prohibiting the most heinous acts of abuse that can occur beyond the reach of state cruelty laws.

“Cracking down on animal abuse is an issue that unites Democrats and Republicans,” said Brindisi. “As a parent of a rescue dog myself, I know how important animals are to families and we need to give law enforcement the tools they need to hold abusers accountable. I am a proud cosponsor of the PACT Act and I hope we can see this bipartisan, common-sense bill become law.”

H.R. 724 would make some of the most egregious forms of animal cruelty (specifically crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or sexual exploitation) federal crimes, cases where state laws do not apply. The current federal law prohibiting the creation and distribution of “crush videos” does not cover the underlying acts of animal abuse. The PACT Act extends federal jurisdiction to these specific and unspeakable acts of animal abuse, thereby closing the loophole. Though animal fighting and the distribution of so-called “crush videos” are illegal under federal law, the vast majority of animal cruelty laws are at the state level.

Earlier this year, Brindisi joined Broome and Oneida County law enforcement, community leaders and activists to demand action on this important legislation. Those leaders praised Brindisi’s efforts.

“My administration has continued to put the protection and treatment of animals front and center,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente. “We have contracted with the CNYSPCA for animal abuse investigations, created an animal abuser registry and are currently devising regulations that will ensure animal rescues are safe and humane. I thank Congressman Brindisi for bringing animal safety issues to Washington and working to pass critical federal legislation that will further ensure the proper treatment of animals and prevent animal abuse in Oneida County.”

“Animals are voiceless and it is our job to protect them, especially our pets who are like family members,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. “I thank Congressman Brindisi for working at the federal level to provide protection to animals. As their caretakers it is our duty to keep them safe.”

“As a law enforcement officer and animal lover, I am happy to see the PACT Act moving forward,” said Broome County Sheriff David Harder. “Animal abusers need to know that law enforcement has all the resources we need to hold them accountable, and this bill helps us do just that. I want to thank Congressman Brindisi for putting politics aside and working with both parties to get this passed.”

“Animal abuse is wrong and we need to do everything we can to stop it,” said Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol. “This bill will get law enforcement the tools we need to catch the abusers and bring them to justice. I’d like to thank Congressman Brindisi for his work on this issue. He listens to the needs of the law enforcement community and we know we have a friend fighting for us in Congress.”

“We appreciate Congressman Brindisi for being a friend to all animals,” said Diane Broccoli, Executive Director with Stevens-Swan Humane Society. “With the passage of this bill, Congressman Brindisi continues to follow through and get things done on issues important to Upstate New Yorkers.”

“We at the Broome County Humane Society appreciate Congressman Brindisi being an advocate for animals in Washington,” said Karen Matson with the Broome County Humane Society. “This bill is another strong step in protecting the animals in need.”

Brindisi is a cosponsor of other animal welfare bills, as well. In addition to the PACT Act, Brindisi is a cosponsor of the Puppy Protection Act (H.R. 2442) to set new requirements on commercial breeders. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates federally licensed commercial dog breeders that sell dogs wholesale to retail pet stores and commercial brokers or directly to consumers over the Internet under the Animal Welfare Act. While the Animal Welfare Act is meant to ensure dogs in federally licensed facilities are treated humanely, the current regulations fall far short.

The Puppy Protection Act would ensure dealers are treating dogs humanely and includes requirements on cage size, human socialization, veterinary care and outdoor activity. The Puppy Protection Act will not impact family pets, livestock or hobbyist breeders.

Earlier this year, Brindisi worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act in the House. Soring is the practice of inflicting pain on horses in order to artificially alter their gait and gain unfair competitive advantage at horse shows. Even though it’s been illegal for nearly 50 years, it’s still widely practiced. Brindisi cosponsored the bill in the House.

The PACT Act now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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