“Tommie’s Law” Makes Animal Cruelty a Felony Charge in Virginia

Richmond, VA: According to Wide Open Pets, “Tommie’s Law,” named after pit bull Tommie who was tied to a pole and set on fire on February 10, 2019, in Richmond, was to come into effect on July 1, 2019. Tommie had burns over 40 percent of his body and, a few days later, passed away. The bill, introduced by Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), was signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, making animal cruelty a felony in Virginia. The previous law required the animal to die before someone was charged with an actual crime, but from July 1, all animal abusers are to be found guilty of a class 6 felony offense. This means they can go to prison for up to five years and owe a fine of up to $2,500. This law applies to dogs and cats.

About Susan Nilson

Susan Nilson began her career with Reuters in London, England, and has over 15 years’ editorial experience in print and digital publications across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She is currently managing editor of BARKS from the Guild. She is also a companion animal behavior consultant and trainer (Centre of Applied Pet Ethology) and an accredited professional canine behavior consultant (Pet Professional Accreditation Board).

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