Local humane society reacts to U.S. House passing animal cruelty bill

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FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to make animal cruelty a federal felony.

Nicole Harris is the Director of the New River Humane Society, and a crusader for the voiceless victims of animal cruelty. She said it is something she sees far too often.

“In a given month, somewhere between three and five cases of suspected animal abuse or neglect are brought into the humane society,” said Harris.

The bipartisan Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act prohibits ‘crushing,’ which is when people maim and torture animals, as well as other forms of torture. It closes a loophole in a 2010 bill that banned making and sharing videos of animal abuse, but did not include the underlying acts of cruelty.

“This new language, I hope it gives more of a solid ground for our prosecutors to stand on when they are seeking animal cruelty charges against individuals,” Harris said.

Harris said it is difficult to investigate repeat abusers who have been charged in other states. She said she believes the bill would help prosecutors pursue those suspects.

“When you think about puppy mills especially, individuals who are shut down in one state may set up operations in another state,” Harris said.

Violators would face felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison. The bill still has to pass the U.S. Senate.

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