WASHINGTON (KCAU) — Pretty soon, our furry friends all across the country could have new protections from the federal government.
Lawmakers say it’s time to make animal abuse a federal crime and it’s getting support on both sides of the aisle.
High schooler, Sydney Helfand, said there are more than 600,000 signatures inside the box.
“She wanted to do something to help animals,” said Florida’s Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch.
The signatures, collected online by Helfand, are all in support of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture, or PACT, Act.
If passed into law, the PACT Act would turn trafficking animals across state lines or the creation of online animal torture videos into federal crimes.
“It’s really amazing to see everyone come together,” said Helfand.
Authored by Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan, it’s now got more than 270 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.
“The bill isn’t just one of the most widely supported pieces of legislation on the hill, it is also one of the most bipartisan,” Deutch said.
Right now, animal abuse laws vary by state, with no good way for the feds to get involved. Buchanan says he’s doing this not just for animals, but for the people who love them too.
“A lot of them are very passionate about their animals,” Buchanan said.
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, says often time animal abuse goes hand in hand with other federal crimes.
“One of the things that I saw every single day…was the nexus between animal cruelty and a lot of other federal violations,” said Pennslyvania’s Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
Violations lawmakers hope this bill will help federal authorities bring to an end.
“But this will close a lot of the doors,” added Buchanan.