Animal advocates in North Alabama call a new federal law against animal cruelty a step in the right direction.
Under the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating or impaling animals, or sexually exploiting them.
"On a federal national level, we've kinda all come together and said enough is enough," Anne Caldwell, CEO of Huntsville Humane Society said.
Caldwell dedicates her life to saving animals. She said she has seen animals throughout North Alabama suffer far too many times.
"It's very well hidden, but as the CEO of the Humane Society one of the things I'm tasked with is supporting Huntsville Animal Services and supporting the surrounding counties, so we can get all the animals to safety," Caldwell said.
Caldwell is hopeful this new law will expose more cases and lead to more arrests. But for Madison County Animal Control, the agency does not expect much to change.
Mike Fritz, the director since 2000, said he has not seen any severe cases of abuse. He said most of the cases are neglect and abandonment. Both of which would be misdemeanors.
However, Caldwell says just because it has not been reported does not mean it is not happening.
"When you start getting outside of even Madison County to some of the more rural areas, you could just curl your toes to some of the things that we've seen," Caldwell said.
Both Caldwell and Fritz agree it is an important law that could impact more than just animal suffering.
"Animal abusers are not usually just animal abusers," Caldwell said. "A lot of time they are involved in a lot of other illegal activity."
If convicted under the "PACT" law, people could face felony charges, a fine, and up to seven years in prison.