Proposed legislation would help keep animals safe

Animals in Illinois and throughout America would be protected if the Preventing Animal Cruel and Torture, or PACT, Act passes. Anyone convicted of violating this proposed legislation would be subject to prison time, a fine or both. The legislation was brought forth by a member of each party in the House, and some exceptions would apply. Those exceptions would include killing animals for legitimate hunting purposes or to protect against a dangerous animal.

There is confidence that the bill will be brought up for a vote and passed. It has broad bipartisan support with 284 co-sponsors and endorsements from outside groups. If passed, the PACT Act would prohibit the crushing, burning or drowning of animals. It would also make it illegal to impale or otherwise torture an animal. Individuals could also be charged under this legislation if they are found sexually assaulting or exploiting an animal.

Individuals who are caught filming the abuse of animals can already be prosecuted for their actions. This was codified in the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act that was passed in 2010. According to the Humane Society Legislative Fund, abusing an animal is not always considered a felony. If the PACT Act were to pass, it would make all acts of animal abuse nationwide a felony charge.

Anyone who is convicted of a felony could face serious penalties. Those penalties may include time in jail or prison in addition to a fine and other sanctions handed down by a judge. It may be possible to negotiate a plea deal that reduces a felony to a misdemeanor or an infraction. An attorney may be helpful during negotiations that take place with a prosecutor or a judge. In some cases, a charge may be sealed if an individual stays out of trouble.

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