MANATEE - "It's crazy to believe that the torturing of animals is not a federal crime. Just talking with police chief here locally in terms of Bradenton, they mentioned that they've had over one hundred abuse cases in the last year or so," U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan said back in February 2019 at the Manatee County Humane Society Veterinary Clinic. 

The legislation, known as PACT, was introduced by Congressmen Buchanan and Ted Deutch. Buchanan was in the Oval Office when President Trump signed the bill Monday and those convicted of severe animal abuse charges can face heavy fines and up to seven years in prison. 

"We've been following this for a while and been in communication with Congressman Buchanan a number of times over the last year and having this move up into a federal offense and become a felony, become part of title 18 section 48, with this type of animal cruelty becoming a federal offense it is definitely a big step in the right direction," Executive Director of Manatee County's Humane Society Rick Yocum said. 

One HUGE thing PACT brings to the table is a change in the law from 2010. Then, what were known as "animal crush videos" which showed individuals brutally killing, mutilating, and torturing small animals as a form of entertainment were shared over the Internet. The videos themselves were made illegal back then but the act itself was still legal under federal law.... until now. 

""It took a while to get where we are today but with this amendment to that section 48 and having these heinous forms of animal cruelty included in section 18 – it's really important for the protection of animals now," Yocum said.