WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Animal cruelty is a federal felony.
President Trump signed the bill, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, into law Monday evening. He called the bill a "very important piece of legislation."
The PACT Act criminalizes specific acts of animal cruelty such as "animal crushing" or purposefully crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians.
The now law also makes selling, marketing, advertising, exchanging or distributing "animal crush videos" illegal. The legislation expands on a 2010 law that targeted videos depicting the crushing or torturing of animals, but that did not prohibit the underlying conduct.
A person convicted under the PACT Act could spend up to seven years in prison.
The bill was approved unanimously in Senate Monday afternoon, following the House's lead, and passed to the President's desk.
Shortly before signing, President Trump noted the significance of the PACT Act and said the timing was appropriate as he had welcomed K-9 Conan, a Delta Force dog injured in a raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, into the White House earlier Monday.
An array of animal rights groups attended a signing ceremony Monday in the Oval Office. Holly Gann of the Animal Wellness Foundation says the legislation will “better protect some of the most vulnerable among us.”
Animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society of the United States tweeted responses to the PACT Act.
"We now have a federal anti-cruelty statute that will allow us to crack down on some of the worst and most malicious acts of animal cruelty. This is a historic day for animals, thanks to YOU," the Humane Society tweeted.