The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS) is always pushing for drastic changes in the area of animal cruelty across the United States. In 2010 they made some progress when President Barrack Obama signed a bill stating that extreme levels of torture towards animals should not be recorded and uploaded online, doing so would be considered a crime. In 2019, they made a lot more progress when Donald Trump signed the new Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.
According to this Bill, animal cruelty is now punishable by the law. Anyone who is found guilty of animal cruelty can face up to seven years in prison for their crime or be forced to pay hefty fines. The exact details of what animal abuse is can be found in detail in the bill. To summarize, the following actions are considered illegal animal abuse:
- Crushing animals
- Burning animals
- Impaling animals
- Purposely injuring animals
- Suffocating animals
- Making videos of animal abuse
Animal cruelty is far too common across the United States and before the passing of this bill, there was not much that could be done to a person who tortured animals to pass their time.
Reported individuals who abuse animals are usually people who have mental health problems and either obsessively hoard pets and neglect them, or they take their frustrations out on their pet as a coping mechanism for their daily stresses. Data shows that the hoarding form of abuse is generally carried out by women over 60, and physical abuse is generally done by men around 30 years of age.
What sort of animals are abused the most?
The animals who suffer the most are often pets and those animals in the factory farm industry. Dogfighting and Cockfighting is a common way in which people abuse animals. They first train their animals to fight and then force them to fight other animals for the money and for entertainment. This sort of activity is illegal, and people have been killed over petty sums of money in these environments. Unfortunately, not many cases of animal abuse are reported and only the most disturbing ones are generally brought up in court.
The hope is that with the passing of the new bill, individuals will take care not to treat their animals like they are merely their possessions and that they will treat them as all living creatures should be treated.
Instead of being charged with a misdemeanor if a person is abusing animals, they can easily be charged with felony charges. All 50 states in the United States now have felony charges for individuals who believe it is okay to abuse animals and who are caught acting on this heinous ideology. Whether a person is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor crime depends heavily on the state they reside in and whether it is their first offense or not. Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Iowa, and Ohio charge a person with a felony if the person is caught for a subsequent offense. All other 46 states treat animal cruelty as a felony on the first offense.