Justice for Socks: Animal Cruelty could soon become federal crime

Animals and Wildlife

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) — A bill that would make Animal Cruelty a Federal crime is sitting on President Trump’s desk tonight. Many people hope he will sign it.

Related: Arkansas man charged with animal cruelty after fatally shooting dog in groin, police say

Socks, a Pittbull mix, was brought to The Animal Haven in North Haven under surrender with obvious abuse. Michelle DeRosa of Animal Haven told News 8, “He had some cranial fractures, and his back had a huge mound…he was bruised, he had some broken teeth.”

Over the past few years, more and more states have been working to make acts of animal abuse a felony.

“Socks was brought to us with obvious, noticeable disfiguration of his face by an owner surrender who couldn’t take care of him anymore….he came to us on a telephone wire and his face was disfigured, so we knew right away, something was up.”

– Michelle DeRosa of The Animal Haven

DeRosa has been going to court to seek justice for Socks.

“We had to call the last shelter he was at, and got pictures to compare what he looked like…as soon as I saw the pictures, we knew right away because the difference between the before and after was unimaginable. It was enough to open up a case and get enough evidence.”

– Michelle DeRosa of The Animal Haven

Right now, the case has been continued, but Michelle and her team are hoping for the best outcome.

Here in Connecticut, anyone with a first offense of animal cruelty can be charged with a Class D felony.

Senator Richard Blumenthal has been a long time proponent of creating and upgrading anti-cruelty laws to the federal level.

Earlier this month, Senator Blumenthal, along with Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT.

DeRosa is thankful for their advocacy and work on the subject.

“Nobody could probably hope for a better law than an animal shelter or anybody who cares about animals. For so long, they’ve had no rights, they can’t speak, there are so many awful stories lately.”

– Michelle DeRosa of The Animal Haven

Right now, federal law enforcement have limited options in pursuing some of the most violent and senseless cases of animal cruelty.

This new bill is designed to complement state level anti-cruelty statues.

In cases where local officials don’t have the resources or are reluctant to make a case, and there is federal jurisdiction, federal law enforcement may step in.

Senator Blumenthal and Senator Toomey’s new bill has passed the House and Senate, and is now awaiting a signature from President Trump.

“There is no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals – period.

Senator Toomey and I have spent years working to hold the barbaric individuals who commit these crimes accountable, and I’m glad that Congress is now finally sending our bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

– Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

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