A dog who suffered a horrible and exceptionally cruel death has inspired change to animal cruelty law in Virginia. His name was Tommie and he died after being tied to a pole and set on fire in February 2019. The new law, dubbed “Tommie’s Law,” took effect on July 1 and its passage stiffens the penalty for animal cruelty crimes.
Sen. Bill DeSteph’s (R-Virginia Beach) legislation has increased the penalty for “cruelly or unnecessarily beating, maiming, mutilating, or killing a dog or cat,” to a felony. DeSteph said, “The crime matches the penalty. Not whether the dog lives or dies, the act of maliciously wounding or torturing a dog is the felony.”
It was five days before Tommie died from the widespread burns on his body – under the previous law, a felony animal cruelty charge could not be brought against an abuser until Tommie passed away. Tommie’s killer has been identified as 20-year-old Jyahshua Hill, who claims that he “snapped” after the pit bull bit his child.
Read more about Tommie’s passing at this link to the Pet Rescue Report.
Read more about the passage of the new law at this link to the Pet Rescue Report.