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Animal cruelty may soon be a federal crime after bill unanimously passes Senate

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill that makes animal cruelty a federal felony.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act criminalizes certain acts of animal cruelty. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch and Rep. Vern Buchanan in January.

The bill passed the House on Oct. 22 and will now be sent to President Trump's desk for his signature.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, said he's been working for years to hold the "barbaric individuals who commit these crimes accountable."

"There’s no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals — period," Blumenthal said on Twitter. "I’m glad Congress is finally sending the #PACTAct to the President’s desk to be signed into law."

The PACT Act would make it a federal crime for "any person to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce," the bill says.

The new bill is an expansion of the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act that passed in 2010, which banned depictions of small animals being tortured to death by humans. 

All 50 states currently have state laws against animal cruelty, but if President Trump signs this bill, authorirites will be able to prosecute those who violate animal cruelty laws at a federal level. 

The criminal penalties a violator would face include a fine, a prison term of up to seven years, or both.