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Federal Law Outlaws Creation and Distribution of Animal Crush Videos

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that makes animal cruelty, specifically intentionally seriously harming an animal in the production of so-called “crush videos,” a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act makes so-called “crushing” or the creation of “crush videos” punishable by a fine, a prison term up to seven years, or both. The law does not apply to customary animal management practices, the slaughter of animals for food, hunting or other sport killings not prohibited by Federal law, the use of animals in research and testing, measures taken to protect life or property of a person, or euthanasia of an animal. This law is meant to cure the deficiencies in a prior federal ban on crush videos that was struck down by the Supreme Court in United States v. Stevens.

Congress Requires USDA to Restore Deleted Records and Maintain Records Going Forward

The House Amendment to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, signed into law on December 20, requires that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture both restore all previously deleted records to its website and to make publicly available for the next three years unredacted versions of all Animal Welfare Act inspection reports, Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act enforcement records, all reports and documentation of non-compliances observed by Department officials, and final Animal Welfare Act research facility annual reports.

Michigan Considers Banning Cosmetic Surgeries for Dogs

Michigan House Bill No. 6009 proposes to ban certain surgeries performed on dogs for cosmetic or breed standard reasons, including tail docking, ear cropping, and debarking.

New York Considers Ban on Euthanizing Companion Animals During Pandemic

New York Assembly Bill A10395 would establish a moratorium on euthanizing companion animals during the outbreak of COVID-19 for one year.

Illinois Considers Legislation Protecting Companion Animals in Affordable Housing

Illinois Senate Bill 2973 would amend state law to prohibit the Illinois Housing Authority from restricting rentals of affordable housing to those with common companion animals, such as a dog or a cat, regardless of breed or size of the animal.

New Jersey Considers Allowing Dogs at Veterans’ Residential Facilities

New Jersey Senate Bill 3028 proposes to allow dogs as service and emotional support animals within a state veterans’ residential facility.

New Jersey Bill Establishes Mandatory Reporting for Animal Abuse

New Jersey Senate Bill 3168 proposes to require veterinarians, veterinary technicians, employees of the Department of Child and Families or Department of Human Services Division of Aging, management of residential care facilities, and law enforcement officers to make a report if they have reason to suspect animal cruelty or abuse. The bill would also establish immunity for anyone who makes a report of suspected animal abuse in good faith and amend the definition of domestic violence to include animal abuse.

Texas Bill Would Require Public be Informed about Protective Order Options

Texas House Bill 674 would require the Attorney General and State Bar of Texas to inform the public about the provisions that can be included in a protective order, such as prohibiting someone from removing a companion animal from the care of the protected.

Missouri Considers Preempting Breed Specific Legislation

Missouri House Bill 365 and Senate Bill 107 would prohibit any jurisdiction from regulating dogs in any breed-specific manner.

New Jersey Considers Legislation Approving Court-Appointed Animal Advocates

New Jersey Assembly Bill 4533 would allow courts to appoint a separate advocate to represent the interests of the animal at issue in a criminal case involving a nonhuman animal.