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Virginia Delegates Pass ‘Tommie’s Law’


by Kevin Dauray

Animal lovers and activists statewide have reason to be proud today. The Virginia House of Delegates passed Bill SB1604, sponsored by Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), increasing the penalty for extreme cases of animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony.

The bill, dubbed “Tommie’s Law,” passed without opposition. Named after a pit bull tortured and killed only ten days ago in a Richmond park, the legislation marks a big step forward in the fight against animal cruelty. The law, as it is currently written, stipulates that an animal must die as a direct result of torture or inhumane injury for a person to be charged with a felony. With this important vote, that law will likely be replaced by one that covers the spectrum of animal cruelty-from “cruelly or unnecessarily beating, maiming, [and/or] mutilating” the animal to the “killing of the dog or cat.”

The bill must now go before the Virginia Senate, where a vote is expected soon. At press time, Gina Hardter, Senior Manager of Communications with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria said, “We are waiting on official confirmation [of the Senate vote], since both of these decisions are necessary for the bill to proceed.”

Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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One Comment

  1. As a dedicated animal lover, I want to thank you, Kevin, for updating us on this important issue. Well-written, timely reporting!

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