INDIANA (WFIE) - Senator Mike Braun and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse have introduced the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act to ensure that the federal government has a dedicated office for the enforcement of animal cruelty statutes.
The bill would create a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Division at the Department of Justice to help in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of felony animal cruelty crimes.
Local officials with the Vanderburgh Humane Society explain this is crucial in the effort to stop animal cruelty, because rules and regulations are not consistent across state lines.
“One of the most frustrating parts of it is that there is not even consistency from county to county, much less nationally," says Amanda Coburn, chief development officer with the Vanderburgh Humane Society. "So if someone is convicted of animal cruelty or they are a repeat offender in the area, they can just move and do these heinous things elsewhere.”
The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would also require the DOJ to report annually on the progress made enforcing animal cruelty statutes.
“Studies have shown that someone who is cruel to animals is also more likely to be violent towards children and people as well," says Coburn. "So there is psychological connection to it. For those who may not care at all about animals and you think we have bigger fish to fry, this does have a correlation with violent people in general.”
Coburn hopes the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act is something everyone can agree on, despite political party.
“America has recently taken big steps to crack down on animal cruelty with new laws to protect animals from torture and abuse, but we need further action to ensure these laws are being enforced across the country and track our progress in eradicating animal cruelty,” said Senator Mike Braun. “The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would create a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Section at the Department of Justice to help bring those who abuse animals to justice and includes reporting measures to track our progress.”