The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and torture Act (PACT) after two Florida congressmen introduced the bill to make animal cruelty a federal felony. That means anyone caught crushing, burning, crowning or suffocating an animal could face a fine or up to seven years in prison.
A local example of animal abuse was the case for Chance, the dog. He was found with his mouth taped shut along with several other injuries. He was later adopted by Lee County Sheriff’s Office and named the LCSO deputy dog.
Thursday, the man accused of abusing Chance faced a judge in Lee County court. And he will face a judge again Wednesday. His attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss his case.
We spoke to pet owners in Lee County to gather their thoughts on the federal animal cruelty bill being put through the process.
Paul Sherman in North Fort Myers said he can’t imagine mistreating or abusing an animal.
“I can’t understand how people do that,” Sherman said.
Sherman said he has adopted many dogs, some of which have been abused. He is happy to see the federal government taking further steps to protect animals.
“It’s good to see the laws are at least protecting animals who are defenseless,” Sherman said.
Alicia Harding in North Fort Myers supports the bill. She suspects her pit bull might have been abused before she adopted him.
“I’d pick up a broom or a mop just to clean the house. She’s never been hit with anything before, at least not in my care,” Harding said. “And she would run to the other side of the room with her tail between her legs and hide.”
PACT is now awaiting a decision from the U.S. Senate after passing unanimously in the House.
Both Harding and Sherman said there is a need for stricter rules regarding whose who abuse animals.
“It’s really sad to see people who treat their animals like that because they don’t deserve it,” Harding said. “They’re victims. They’re innocent.”