You likely never anticipated facing criminal scrutiny charges or a federal offense. To face both simultaneously may seem like an impossibility.

Like most people in Plano, you may think that examples of animal cruelty are very clear-cut and that your treatment of your own animals would never qualify as such. You might also wonder how an accusation of animal cruelty would fall under federal jurisdiction. Knowing which actions might fall under both areas may help you in answering any such allegations made against you.

What qualifies as animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty may seem simple to define, and indeed, in many cases, it is. There are several examples of intentional cruelty to animals that leave little room for interpretation as to the motives of the one engaged in it. The same might seem true for exploitation, yet a grey area arises when it comes to breeding. You may look to breed your animals in order to increase your own stock or to sell the offspring. While local animal cruelty laws often include language that excludes instances of animal husbandry and breeding, those are often limited in their scope. Plus, depending on where you live, you may need to register as a breeder or your actions could potentially face accusations of sexual exploitation of an animal.

Crossing over into federal crime

When could your animal breeding activities qualify as a federal crime? According to the Humane Society of the United States, the enactment of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act in 2019 supplemented the already-existing Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act which prohibits the creation and distribution of video content depicting animal cruelty (under which sexual exploitation falls). While that Act only made the use of the video content illegal, the PACT goes a step further and makes whatever actions the video depicts a federal crime.