Westchester lawmakers push to make animal cruelty a felony

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WESTCHESTER -

Lawmakers introduced a bill that would put stricter penalties on people who abuse animals.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, and makes acts of animal cruelty and bestiality a felony.

Currently, abusers might not end up serving time because some penalties are still considered misdemeanors.

Ernie Lungaro, a humane law enforcement officer with the SPCA, says the bill will help him do his job by holding criminal accountable.

Rep. Nita Lowey is a cosponsor of PACT. She says, "Animal cruelty is immoral and wrong. And we know there is a close link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. This bill would keep more animals safe and enhance the ability of law enforcement to protect communities."

Rep. Eliot Engel also put his support behind PACT, saying, "There is never an excuse for the mistreatment or abuse towards animals, and it is our responsibility to ensure that all animals are approached with the dignity and respect they deserve."

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