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US Passes New Law Making Animal Cruelty a Federal Felony Punishable by 7 Years in Prison

For the first time in U.S. history, malicious acts of animal cruelty will be a federal felony.

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Animal Cruelty
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(TMU) — Animal rights advocates are celebrating after the White House signed a landmark piece of bipartisan legislation that, for the first time in U.S. history, will make malicious acts of animal cruelty a federal felony punishable with fines and up to seven years in prison.

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act into law while saying that he is against “heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty.” 

The bill had been passed unanimously last month in the House before similarly passing through the Senate earlier this month with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The PACT Act, which was introduced by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) in January, gives federal authorities a new set of tools to hunt down suspected animal abusers who move across state lines, involve the internet in a criminal enterprise, or commit malicious acts of animal cruelty within federal jurisdiction.

The bill also expands on a prior law passed in 2010—the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act—that outlawed the creation and distribution of videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of torture. However, the act didn’t expressly prohibit violence toward animals if a video wasn’t produced. The PACT Act is meant to close the loophole and make the acts of cruelty depicted in the videos felony crimes.

In a statement following the House passage of the bill, Deutch said:

“We’ve received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum. Animal rights activists have stood up for living things that do not have a voice.

Law enforcement officers have sought a federal overlay to help them stop animal abusers who are likely to commit acts of violence against people.

And animal lovers everywhere know this is simply the right thing to do.”

The newly-approved H.R. 724 bill contains exceptions for routine veterinary care, hunting, trapping, fishing, and other actions considered necessary to protect one’s life or property from threats posed by animals.

Advocates have hailed the passage of the law as long overdue. Holly Gann of the Animal Wellness Foundation, who attended Monday’s signing ceremony in the Oval Office, said the law would “better protect some of the most vulnerable among us.”

Chris Schindler, vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance, said in a statement Monday that the law would be especially helpful in pursuing offenders who commit crimes in Washington, D.C., where offenses tend to occur across multiple jurisdictions and on federal property. He added:

“Our officers investigate thousands of animal cruelty cases each year, but have been unable to truly bring justice for the animals in instances when the cruelty occurs across multiple jurisdictions.

The PACT Act is a necessary tool for us to provide further protections for animals and our community, and will ensure some of the most horrific acts of animal cruelty are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

In a statement following Trump’s signing of the bill, Sara Amundson, president of the legislative fund for the Humane Society, said:

“This law will ensure that those who hurt animals shamelessly, callously, and without remorse do not go scot-free.

The passage of a national anti-cruelty law is a historic moment, and it sets the stage for continuing progress in our work to build out federal protections for all animals.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years

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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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