Animal cruelty now a felony in Virginia after Gov. Northam signs 'Tommie's Law'

Goes into effect July 1

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam has signed the bill dubbed 'Tommie's Law,' making animal cruelty a felony in the commonwealth. 

Current law requires the animal to die before someone can face felony charges. Starting July 1, animal abusers could be found guilty of a Class 6 felony. 

The name "Tommie's Law" surfaced after a dog in Richmond died in February after being tied to a pole and set on fire. 

The male pit bull had burns on over more than 40 percent of his body after being tied to a fence post and covered in a flammable liquid. 

He was rescued by Richmond Animal Care and Control, but died five days later. 

The law only applies to dogs and cats. 





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Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.