Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer

House Passes Bill to Make Animal Cruelty a Federal Crime


The crime of animal cruelty has largely been defined based on state law and what the state deems constitutes this crime. For example, Florida law dictates that anyone who deprives an animal of sustenance of shelter, kills, mutilates, overdrives, overloads, torments, or causes this to be done to an animal commits animal cruelty, which is a first degree misdemeanor; typically punishable via fine and, under certain conditions, less than one year in prison. Historically, the federal government has largely been consigned to regulating only those activities that affect commerce, such as videos depicting animal cruelty sold online across state borders.

However, that may soon change: The House of Representatives recently passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (“PACT”) Act, making a number of activities a federal offense nationwide and increasing the penalties for these crimes. If next passed by the Senate and enacted, it will make burning, crushing, drowning, impaling, suffocation, sexual exploitation, or any other “violence that leads to serious bodily injury to animals” a federal felony that results in up to seven years in prison and a significant fine. The bill expands upon a law already passed in 2010 which prohibited creating and distributing animal “crush” videos (involving people torturing, crushing, and killing small animals) illegal.

With a federal ban in place, it will arguably be easier to prosecute certain cases that span a number of jurisdictions, as well as those that occur on federal property, such as military bases. Bars to its passage is not expected from the Senate, given that it has passed a companion bill to the law twice already.


The law was written to explicitly exempt certain activities involving animals from prosecution, including:

  • Fishing
  • Humane euthanasia
  • Hunting
  • Slaughter for food
  • “Normal” agricultural husbandry, veterinary, or other management practices
  • “Actions necessary to protect life or property”
  • Medical and scientific research
  • Trapping

If You’ve Been Charged with A Federal or State Crime, Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers

The PACT Act not only now makes a number of activities involving animals illegal on federal property, it also provides federal authorities with more leeway to crack down on a number of activities that affect interstate and foreign commerce, including any and all websites that contain certain information and moving animals across state lines. If you have been charged with animal cruelty, it is best to work with a criminal defense attorney who has worked on these specific cases before at both the state and federal level, especially now that there is more overlap between these crimes and prosecutions.

At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando criminal attorneys have direct experience successfully defending clients when it comes to a number of crimes. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out more.







  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1410
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111

Orlando Office

250 N Orange Ave, Suite 750
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms
Please review the highlighted fields. They are required.
DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2024 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab