“Tommie,” a male pit bull, died in February after animal control officials said he was “intentionally lit on fire.”
( Richmond Animal Care and Control)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law on Monday a bill that will make animal cruelty a felony in the commonwealth.
Dubbed “Tommie’s Bill,” the legislation is set to change current law — which, according to WWBT, states that those who abuse animals “can only be charged with a misdemeanor unless the animal dies.”
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But after the Democratic governor signed the bill into law, animal cruelty will be considered a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, and up to five years in prison.
The bill was named after Tommie, a male brindle pit bull who was found tied to a pole after being “covered in accelerant and intentionally lit on fire” in February.
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Richmond Animal Care and Control wrote on Facebook at the time that 40 percent of Tommie’s body was burned. The dog later died.
The law, which the news station reports applies just to dogs and cats, is set to start July 1.