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Toomey introduces animal rights bill
Sens. Pat Toomey and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal reintroduced a bill to outlaw a deadly form of animal torture known as "crushing" on Wednesday.
According to a news release from Toomey's office, in 2010, Congress made the sale of videos depicting animal crushing illegal but did not outlaw the act itself. The bipartisan PACT Act would take that extra step and would make the creation and distribution of videos a federal felony.
Crushing, according to the bill, is an act in which a nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian is "purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury."
If someone is convicted of participating in crushing, the maximum sentence is a felony charge that could result in fines and seven years of imprisonment, according to the bill.
"There is absolutely no place for the crushing of animals in our society," said Toomey in the news release. "It is blatantly inhumane and astonishingly cruel. I can't believe this isn't already against the law, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to end this abhorrent practice. This bipartisan bill is the first step towards that goal.”
There is a House companion bill that was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, earlier this month.
Toomey press secretary Steve Kelly said the bill is unique because most animal-rights laws are passed at the local level. An example of this is Libre's Law, which was introduced in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 298 would allow district attorneys to bring felony charges against those who knowingly or willingly harm or kill an animal. It was created after a Boston terrier was saved from severe neglect at an Amish dog-breeding farm in Lancaster County last year.
Libre suffered from emaciation, mange and other skin infections, ulcers on his eyes and a number of open wounds that were infested with maggots, according to an initial report that appeared on Lancaster Online.
Libre's story went viral and resulted in Janine Guido, founder of Spranza Animal Rescue in Mechanicsburg, adopting Libre. The pup is now healthy.