Va. (FOX) — A Virginia law establishing any form of animal cruelty or abuse as a felony has gone into effect – with some dubbing it “Tommie’s Law” in honor of a pit bull who died after he was set on fire earlier this year.
The new law makes “cruelly or unnecessarily beating, maiming [or] mutilating” a dog or cat an automatic felony. Previously, such crimes were only considered misdemeanors unless the animal died as a direct result of the abuse.
Authorities say Tommie was tied to a pole and set on fire in a Richmond park Feb 10. by his 20-year-old owner, Jyahshua Hill. The pit bull was rescued taken to a local animal shelter, but died five days later. A picture shared by the shelter showed Tommie covered in bandages and casts while snuggling a stuffed animal.
Hill was arrested in May and charged with felony animal cruelty. He told WTVR-TV last month that he “snapped” after the dog attacked his daughter and claimed he “did what I had to do to protect my kids from the dog.”
When asked why he didn’t let the dog go, Hill said it “would’ve attacked somebody else’s kid.”
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