Gov. Northam signs law upping animal cruelty punishment

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If you’re charged with abusing an animal in Virginia, it will now be a felony.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill that was dubbed “Tommie’s Law”,  which ups the penalty from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony. The crime now carries a punishment of one to five years in prison. 

The new law closes a loophole that allowed the perpetrator to only be charged with a misdemeanor if the animal survived the abuse, animal rights advocates say.

Tommie was a pit bull who died after being tied to a pole and intentionally set on fire in a Richmond park. No arrests have been made in the case.

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