Animal abuse would be federal felony under proposed law

Two Florida congressmen are again proposing a bill that would make animal abuse a federal felony.

Animal rights groups have more hope for passage this time, given the new makeup of Congress.

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay takes in about a thousand animals who were abused every year.

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton are joining forces to make things like burning, drowning or seriously injuring animals a felony under federal law. 

"A lot of people think they can get away with it," said Sherry Silk of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. "Once people start going to jail because the penalties if they stay the same is seven years. That is some serious time."

Right now, federal law only punishes the recording of those acts, while the acts themselves are punishable under a patchwork of state laws.

The Humane Society of the United States says in one study, nearly half of multiple murderers questioned admitted to animal abuse as adolescents.