The Commonwealth of Virginia has now made animal cruelty a felony.
Currently, the good state of Virginia isn’t so good when it comes to being cruel to your pets. If you do something heinous to any of the good furry boys or girls in Virginia, it’s considered a misdemeanor only worthy of a fine.
However, that’s changing. Just signed by the state governor and going into effect July 1st is “Tommie’s Law”, which changes animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a full-on felony.
If only it didn’t take the life of a very good boy to get Virginians to take a stand against animal cruelty.
Last February, Richmond Animal Care and Control were called to rescue a young pit bull named Tommie, who had been tied to a fence post, doused in lighter fluid, and lit on fire. He suffered burns to 40% of his body by the time Richmond AC&C were able to douse the flames and take him to an animal hospital.
Tommie died five days later after suffering unimaginable pain. His casket was covered in heart-shaped letters from devastated Virginians and he was buried with honors at Memorial Park.
Tommie’s killers were never found. But if they are, they’ll face much stiffer penalties thanks to the new law signed by state governor Ralph Northam. Tommie’s Law classifies animal cruelty as a Class 6 felony and applies a penalty for "cruelly or unnecessarily beating, maiming, mutilating, or killing a dog or cat" of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
According to Criminal Defense Lawyer.com, Virginia’s class 6 felonies include donating blood while knowingly infected with HIV, but also prohibited drugs for personal use, a DUI arrest, or aggravated assault.
Frankly, a crime as heinous as tying a dog to a post and lighting it on fire seems like it really requires life in prison, but we’re glad that Virginia is at least heading in the right direction.
(Source: WHSV News)