Donald Trump signed the controversial House Bill 1172 into law on Wednesday, and the new law will allow pets to sue owners who intentionally cause injuries to animals in the name of a living creature.
The bill passed on a voice vote, and will be sent to the Senate for its consideration, the White House said.
Under the new bill, if a court decides an animal suffers an injury because it was mistreated, the injured animal’s owner must file a claim in court.
It is up to the court to decide whether the animal suffered injury for an intentional purpose.
The bill will also allow animal shelters and animal rescue organizations to file claims against owners.
Under existing law, courts are only allowed to award money to a pet owner if there is evidence of “cruelty, neglect, or exploitation.”
It is illegal to treat animals with drugs, poisons, or other harmful or dangerous substances.
Under current law, the only exception to this law is for owners who want to take the legal action themselves.
“This is about protecting the environment and making sure that we’re protecting our wildlife and our animals,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bill Flores, R-Texas.
“The animals deserve the best protection that we can provide, and that’s why we have the bill that is now being signed into law.”
The bill, which is currently before the House Natural Resource Committee, was authored by Flores and Rep. Bill Keating, R.I.
The move to allow animals to take legal action came just days after Trump signed a similar bill, House Bill 639, into law.
It also follows the release of a study showing that pet owners who abuse their animals can suffer significant financial loss if they pursue claims against them.
Trump has previously said he wants to “save the animals.”
The bill would give them the right to sue their owners if the owner intentionally causes their injuries to an animal.
“The animal has a right to live, it’s not just a piece of meat, it has a soul,” Flores said at a rally in December.
“If they can’t live, they’re not going to live.”