A proposal backed by a congressman from the Sunshine State to crack down on animal cruelty is building traction on Capitol Hill
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is one of the top backers of U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse’s, D-Col., “Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act.” According to Neguse’s office, the bill “would establish a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Division at the Department of Justice to aid in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of felony animal cruelty crimes.
”Neguse introduced the bill last month with Gaetz as a cosponsor. Other original backers of the proposal include U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.
“Proper enforcement of animal cruelty laws will protect animal welfare and help keep each of our communities safe from the violence often linked to these crimes,” said Neguse. “For too long the Department of Justice has missed the mark on providing timely and efficient prosecutions. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act, which I am proud to introduce today, seeks to right this by providing the necessary resources and staffing for efficient enforcement of these laws, so animals and communities alike are protected and justice is served.”
“I am proud to join Mr. Neguse and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce the ACE Act, an important step forward in the fight against animal cruelty,” said Gaetz. “This bipartisan, bicameral bill will help protect animals and bring bad actors to justice nationwide, and I look forward to its swift passage.”
“I’m proud to support the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act. Intentionally inflicting harm to defenseless animals, including through competitive dogfighting and other inhumane practices, has no place in civilized society. Enforcement of measures already on the books is critical to ending these barbaric practices, which is what this measure aims to do,” said Cohen.
“Congress has made important strides to prevent animal cruelty recently,” said Carter. “Now, we need to ensure the laws are enforced. This legislation will provide the resources necessary to combat animal-fighting and other barbaric practices. I thank my colleagues for the bipartisan work on this bill.”
“If there is one thing all Americans agree on, it’s that strong enforcement is needed to address heinous acts of cruelty like animal fighting where spectators bet on animals that are forced to fight to their deaths, and crush videos where innocent animals are tortured for fetishes. Congress has passed a number of laws to protect animals from cruelty, but these laws are only effective if enforced,” said Holly Gann, the director of federal affairs for Animal Wellness Foundation and Animal Wellness Action, in support of the proposal.
Last week, several senators–including U.S. Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, John Kennedy, R-La., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., championed the bill in the upper chamber.
“America has recently taken big steps to crack down on animal cruelty with new laws to protect animals from torture and abuse, but we need further action to ensure these laws are being enforced across the country and track our progress in eradicating animal cruelty,” said Braun. “The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would create a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Section at the Department of Justice to help bring those who abuse animals to justice and includes reporting measures to track our progress.”
“I’m pleased to join my colleague Senator Braun to introduce this legislation to protect animal welfare,” said Whitehouse. “We need to make sure laws related to serious negligence and cruelty toward animals are clear and enforceable, and that the Department of Justice has the dedicated resources it needs to prosecute them.”
“There is no place for animal cruelty in this country,” said McSally. “Our bill will help stamp out animal abuse by creating a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Division at the Justice Department. The division will focus on the investigation and prosecution of federal animal cruelty crimes, and be responsible for reporting their progress annually to Congress.”
“People who abuse innocent animals often turn their violence on innocent people,” said Kennedy. “The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would help better prevent and prosecute animal cruelty, and I’m proud to partner with Sen. Braun and my colleagues to keep our communities safe from sick people who target helpless creatures.”
“Our nation has an epidemic of rampant dogfighting and cockfighting, bestiality, the sale of animal crush videos, horse soring, and other forms of extreme exploitation,” said Wayne Pacelle, the president of Animal Wellness Action. “A new Animal Cruelty Crimes section would allow the United States to do more to combat cruelty and complement efforts of the states and local governments in sending a signal that malicious mistreatment of animals won’t be tolerated in our nation.”
This isn’t the first time that Neguse and Gaetz have teamed up on animal cruelty issues. Earlier this summer, they worked together to add amendments to a House appropriations measure to send $1 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General and backing another $1 million to DOJ so both federal departments can enforce animal cruelty laws.
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