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Trump Signs Bill That Makes Extreme Animal Cruelty A Felony

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Amber Athey White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act on Monday, which makes it a federal crime to engage in extreme animal cruelty or to distribute videos or images of animal torture.

The legislation specifically addresses “animal crushing,” which refers to abuse cases in which an animal is crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, or impaled.

The president signed the legislation, which was pushed through the house by Democratic Florida Rep. Ted Deutch and Republican Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan, during a ceremony in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon. (RELATED: Trump Receives Hero Dog From al-Baghdadi Raid At The White House)

“From battlefields to hospitals, from the ranches of the frontier to the backyards of America, from animals of service to animals of war, our nation’s animals have played a vital role in the development, settlement, security, and happiness of our country.  So true.  We had a great dog named Conan here, just a little while ago.  It’s very fitting that it was on the same day,” Trump explained. “We have a responsibility to honor the dignity of God’s creation.”

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Trump took credit for the legislation, asserting that it should have been signed during previous administrations.

“And I ask the same question I asked for another bill that we just signed: Why hasn’t it — this happened a long time ago?  And I give you the same answer: because Trump wasn’t President,” the president said to laughter.

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, however, pointed fingers for the bill’s delay at former House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte.

“The PACT Act passed the U.S. Senate in both the 114th and 115th Congresses, but was stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives due to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte refusing to move the bill,” Amundson explained. “Without passage in the House, the bill wouldn’t make it to the president’s desk. So it required Goodlatte’s retirement and current Chairman Nadler’s willingness to move the bill to the House floor to change the dynamic. We are grateful that both chambers passed the legislation unanimously, ensuring a greased signing for the president.”

Past versions of the PACT Act were introduced by Republican Texas Rep. Lamar Alexander but failed to gain traction in the House.

The Humane Society celebrated the legislation in a press release, pointing out that individuals who have the propensity for animal abuse will often also have the urge to harm human beings.

“Studies repeatedly show that there is a close link between extreme animal cruelty and violence toward people. By bringing charges against perpetrators of animal cruelty, we may be able to prevent individuals with a propensity for harming people from acting on those impulses,” The Humane Society said.