Animal abuse could become felony

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. Hurting an animal could soon mean a lengthy prison sentence and heavy fines. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are re-introducing a proposed law that would make animal cruelty a felony.

The bill is called the Preventing Animal Cruel and Torture Act (PACT), and it’s backed by Florida Democrat Ted Deutch and Florida Republican Vern Buchanan.

The new law would criminalize heinous acts such as, “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals.” The law would also criminalize the sexual exploitation of animals.

The legislation contains exceptions for hunting, veterinary care and protecting someone’s life or property from “serious threat.”

Kentucky has been ranked the worst state in the country for its lenient animal cruelty laws, something the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society hopes will change.

“There’s a lot of instances where education is all that people need. They just need to be taught how to take better care of their pets, but in the situations where they are purposely neglecting or abusing their animals there does need to be harsher consequences,” said Leah Lawrence, operations manager at the Hildreth Adoption Center.

The bill had bi-partisan support when it was first introduced, but it never went to the floor for a vote. Supporters are hoping for a better outcome this time around.