Lawmakers in Washington appear united on one issue, protecting the animals. The effort is underway to make animal cruelty a federal offense.
While it still has to pass the senate, a Bi Partisan bill already passed the house unanimously this week and local shelters are excited by the news.
“I think it’s an ongoing story that we see, each dog or cat that comes into our shelter has it’s own sad story.” said Executive Director of TAPS No Kill Shelter in Pekin, Holly Crotty
She said they see victims of abuse everyday from cats thrown out of car windows, to dogs chained outdoors with no food or water.
“So whether it’s just complete neglect or outright abuse … they’re all living their horrors in some way.”
Under the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, which advanced through the House of Representatives Tuesday, animal cruelty would become a federal offense with a penalty of up to seven years in prison.
The legislation would expand a 2010 law signed by President Barack Obama banning so-called “crush videos” that show animals being subjected to torture.
“What some people put them through is absolutely horrific and they need us to step up and be their voice and people need to understand that usually if somebody is torturing an animal that’s not where their mental illness, cruelty stops.” said Crotty
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, in 2018 Illinois was ranked number one in terms of animal protection laws. In Illinois any person convicted of any act of abuse or neglect is guilty of a class B misdemeanor, but depending on the severity and with multiple offenses someone can be charged with a felony.
“I think it’s important that everyone remember that legislation cannot be successful without the human component of that, stepping up and being the voice for the animals.” said Crotty