Animal cruelty

A local pet owner posted a photo of his cat that had been killed by a high-powered pellet gun.

CLIFTON — A spree of animals shot to death with pellet guns have left pet owners grieving, but the perpetrators may be in for a rude awakening thanks to the revision of a federal law.

On Nov. 15, a Facebook user shared to a local community page that their pet cat had been shot and killed.

“Whoever the shooter is, if you’re reading this . . . Just come forward about shooting the cats and pay the price as peacefully as possible,” the user wrote.

A week earlier, another resident, Jon Stacy, had reported his own cat had been shot by a high-powered pellet gun.

“It ended up dying with a punctured lung in my daughter’s hands,” Stacy said.

Animal cruelty is nothing new to any community, but its a terrible blow for a family to lose a beloved pet.

The Clifton Police Department issued a statement regarding the incidents, stating, “Several reports have been in reference to felines being shot with pellet guns. Please be advised that shooting any animals with pellet guns is an act of animal cruelty, 13-2910. This is a class 1 misdemeanor up to a class 6 felony. If you are having issues with felines, please contact animal control and request a trap.”

Thanks to new legislation passed last month, those who continue to harm or torture animals could be looking at federal charges.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture act (PACT) expands on a 2010 piece of legislation outlawing animal “crush” videos. PACT expands on that to include any act of, “purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.”

President Trump signed the bill into law last month after it received widespread bipartisan support.

“This is something that should have happened a long time ago. We have the responsibility to honor the dignity of God’s creation,” Trump said at the time.

If convicted under the new law, offenders face up to a maximum of seven years in prison in addition to fines.

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