What the Federal PACT Act Means and Doesn't Mean for Iowa's Animals

posted on Monday, November 9, 2020 in News

On Nov. 25, 2019, President Trump signed into law a bill making some cases of animal cruelty a federal felony.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act is an amendment to a federal law specifically related to fetish "crush videos." The original law made the production, possession, and sale of such videos a federal felony, but it did not criminalize the underlying act of cruelty itself. The PACT Act fills that gap by making the act of cruelty a federal felony.

However, the PACT Act only applies in very narrow circumstances related to crush videos, and then only in jurisdictions where no state or local laws apply. You can read more about the PACT Act at Govtrack.us

While this law is significant, the PACT Act does not apply to the vast majority of animal cruelty cases in Iowa and across the nation.

Iowa currently ranks 48th in the country for the effectiveness of its animal protection laws, but a bill (HF737) that was signed into law in 2020 makes several key improvements to Iowa’s companion animal cruelty laws, including increased penalties, improved definitions related to standards of care, and mental health evaluations and restrictions on future possession of animals in certain cases.

On June 29, 2020 Governor Reynolds signed HF737 into law, marking a huge victory for Iowa’s companion animals. The law went into effect July 1, 2020. To read more about what the law will do to protect animals, click here.