The House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill making animal cruelty a federal felony. This according to an article from CNN.

The PACT act, which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture, allows authorities to go after animal abusers because they will have federal jurisdiction and will not be limited by state laws. Additionally criminals can be prosecuted if the abuse occurs on federal property.

Under the act a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling, and sexually exploiting animals. Penalties include fines and up to seven years in prison.

Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson told CNN ""These malicious acts deserve federal scrutiny and action. Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials will finally have the tools they need to bring those responsible for cruelty to animals to justice."

I say good. I've worked with a couple of animal rescue groups and some of the abuse I've heard about and witnessed is both tremendously sad and infuriating. Although in my opinion the PACT act only addresses the worst of the worst crimes. So what about animal abuse and neglect that doesn't reach the levels that the PACT act addresses?

The state of Missouri's animal abuse and neglect statutes are mixed bag. Animal neglect and abandonment are misdemeanors in Missouri, with the penalties getting harsher for repeat offenders. Animal abuse can be either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the condition of the animal and the history of the offender. Dog fighting is a felony; watching a dog fight is a misdemeanor. And judges have the right to determine if someone convicted of animal abuse or neglect gets their animal back or not. You can read more about Missouri's animal abuse and neglect statutes at the Humane Society of Missouri's website here.

There certainly seem to be state laws that address less heinous animal abuse. I just hope they're enforced more than in the cases that make the 10 O'Clock news. Because every animal deserves love, not abuse.