RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– In 2019, Congress passed a bipartisan law that made animal cruelty a federal crime. The law gives local prosecutors and police more power to keep animals safe. Those who cause serious harm to an animal may face up to seven years in prison under the federal code.

Animal lovers in Raleigh County said they would not tolerate seeing an animal being mistreated.

“I think it should be reported,” said Sissie Athey, who was taking her pup, Bucky, to the veterinarian on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. “Because they’re living beings, too, and I just don’t think they should be mistreated.”

One local pet owner, Peggy Morgan, said those who neglect pets by keeping them tied outside and not giving them food and water “ought to be ashamed” of themselves.

“They should at least feed them,” said Morgan. “If they’re going to keep them, feed them and give them water because that’s something they have to have.”

Suspected crimes involving animals may be reported to the non-emergency line of a local 911 center, or by calling 911, in emergency cases.