PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– A new federal law is banning animal cruelty, but it can only be enforced in certain areas. State laws fill in the gaps.

The Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act or known as the PACT Act was signed into law on Monday.

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It gives animal groups help with crimes that cross state lines but it doesn’t address animal hoarding which we have seen around our area.

We have shown you video like this several times this year.

Animals being taken out of a home where there were dozens or even more than a hundred living in unsafe or inhumane conditions.

“Often these are people with very with very good intentions but they just go awry as they collect more animals or don’t get their animals spayed and neutered,” Dan Rossi the CEO of the Animal Humane Rescue said.

Dan Rossi with the humane animal rescue says cases of hoarding are common calls among the more than 2,000 calls of animal cruelty in Allegheny County this year.

“Often these hoarding situations it just gets out of control for these people. So the actual health of the animal comes into consideration and the living environment that those animals are in,” Rossi said.

Hoarding can become animal cruelty if the animals are mistreated.

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But, the newly signed pact act doesn’t address these cases unless it happens on federal land or it crosses state lines.

Rossi said with our proximity to Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland the law helps prosecute cases that were a challenge.

“Often state laws are very different. For example, what the state laws are in Ohio versus Pennsylvania. This will give a consistent law across those state lines,” Rossi said.

Rossi believes this federal law is a step in the right direction and will bring a new awareness to the issue of animal abuse and cruelty.

He feels it might be an incentive for states to update their current stances on animal rights.

“I think this will give a road map to all of their laws to be a little more consistent as well,” Rossi said.

The federal law criminalizes crushing, burning, suffocating, drowning, or other forms of severe bodily harm to animals.

If someone is found guilty, they could be fined or face up to 7 years in jail.

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US Senator Pat Toomey was a sponsor on the PACT Act and says it was five years in the making to get it across the finish line.