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Source: istock

Virginia Officially Declares Pet Cruelty a Felony Statewide


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After three years of work, a bill making pet cruelty a felony has finally become law in Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill on Monday, April 1, and it will go into effect on July 1, according to local news outlet WSLS 10 News. The law, which will only protect dogs and cats, is known as Tommie's Law, in honor of a pit bull named Tommie who was violently abused in February.

As WTVR CBS 6 reported, the legislation was first introduced by Senator Bill DeSteph. Lawmakers passed the bill in February, but the bill did not become law until it passed through the governor's desk this week. Previously in Virginia, abusing a dog or cat could not be considered a felony unless the animal died in response to the torture. Tommie's Law intensifies the penalty for "cruelly or unnecessarily beating, maiming, mutilating, or killing a dog or cat," whether or not the animal dies, according to WTVR CBS 6