US House passes new, but limited, animal cruelty bill, officials say

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would make certain types of animal cruelty a federal crime with up to seven years in prison. But an expert cautioned the bill isn't as broad as people think.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act is not a blanket covering all types of animal abuse, said Nicole Wilson, director of humane law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA.

"This is a very narrow piece of legislation that is attached to a very specific set of crimes," said Wilson, referring to "crushing" videos, which are obscene recordings of people doing terrible things to animals and posting them online. The bill easily passed the House with bipartisan support.

"The things that are depticted and the crimes that are connected to the specific issues that are addressed in this bill are severe," she said.

According to Wilson, the bill hasn't passed the Senate yet, so people can "reach out to their senators and request their senators support this bill, because it may be very specific but it is very important."

Wilson emphasized the people making these videos are certainly capable of doing other kinds of damage, which includes hurting people. She said she also wants Congress to look into more regulation and inspection for animal dealers.

"There are many individuals out there that are dealing in animals and making money off of animals," she explained, "that are not being held to the standard that most people would like to see."