This act would expand on a prior law that criminalizes the production and distribution of animal torture videos. Passage of the PACT Act would criminalize acts of animal torture at the federal level as well.
Representatives Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) sponsored the bill, which states that any person who intentionally engages in animal cruelty would face federal charges.
A similar bill was introduced in the Senate in February. If the Senate passes the bill and the PACT Act becomes law, convicted individuals will face fines and up to 7 years in prison.
Infamous Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick announced earlier this week that he would like to adopt a dog. In an interview with Piers Morgan, Vick explained that his kids have wanted a dog for some time now, and that owning one would be therapeutic for them. “It certainly wouldn’t be a pit bull,” he assured. In 2007 Vick pleaded guilty to “Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture,” and was sentenced to 23 months in prison. Vick was also banned from owning a dog for three years immediately following his prison release, and that ban will expire this month.
Vick’s interest in adopting a new dog has provoked both support and outrage from the public. The ASPCA has already spoken out about Vick’s decision, telling TMZ, “Vick’s journey toward rehabilitation and redemption has not reflected any direct concern for the well being of animals, and we’ve never heard him express a shred of empathy toward the dogs he brutalized and killed.” The ASPCA went on to describe Vick’s actions as self-serving, and expressed “serious concerns about Vick’s ability to be a responsible pet guardian.”
Francis Battista of Best Friends Animal Society also blogged about Vick’s interest in adopting, and shed light on a devastating result of Vick’s dog-fighting operation. According to Battista, “many of the 22 ‘Vicktory dogs’ who came to Best Friends for rehabilitation arrived with a hidden killer circulating through their blood – babesia gibsoni, a fatal blood-born protozoan parasite that destroys red blood cells and ultimately causes death. It is virtually impossible to cure and treatment of symptoms involves long-term steroid therapy, which is itself debilitating. It is a terrible, wasting disease that is spread primarily through blood-to-blood exchanges during dog-fighting matches.”
A great number of dogs faced gruesome deaths at the hands of Vick, some had to be euthanized, and many of the remaining Vicktory dogs are still suffering the consequences of Vick’s actions. Many believe he should never be allowed to own a dog again, and others believe Vick has paid his dues and it is time to move on. Vick insists he is a changed man, working with the Humane Society of the United States among other damage control efforts. What do you think – should Vick be able to adopt a new dog?