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Bill could lead to animal abuse warranting federal felony charges

Feb 5, 2019 | Animal Cruelty Charges

When it comes to criminal charges, many Texas laws pertain to how the cases involving state-level criminal allegations should be handled. There are also federal laws, which could lead to more severe punishments. Because laws are often being reconsidered and changed, it is possible for certain state-level crimes to also involve federal felony charges that could apply.

It was recently reported that federal lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that pertains to animal cruelty charges. Currently, crimes of animal abuse are charged and prosecuted at a state level as either misdemeanor or felony charges, but the revived bill would make certain acts of animal cruelty a federal felony. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act would work to close the loophole in current laws that do not make certain acts of animal cruelty illegal under federal law.

The desire to revive this bill reportedly stems from the posting of “crush” videos online, which depict individuals abusing animals. Though the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act exists and prohibits the posting of such videos, it does not make the actions often depicted in the videos illegal under federal law. In addition to closing this loophole, the PACT Act would also redefine “animal crushing” to include any behavior that results in an animal being intentionally drowned, impaled, burned, crushed, suffocated or subjected to serious bodily injury.

Changes to laws can affect numerous people, and if individuals in Texas are accused of animal cruelty, they will certainly need to know if their allegations are considered federal felony charges. Though the bill has not passed into law as of yet, it could create significant changes to criminal law. Fortunately, attorneys do their best to stay informed and updated on such changes, and if individuals face animal abuse charges, consulting with legal counsel about their specific predicaments is wise.