ALEXANDRIA, VA-Here’s some good news for Alexandrians who love animals. State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) recently introduced a bill in the Virginia General Assembly that calls for more severe penalties for animal cruelty, and it is making progress. The news was first reported Feb. 2 by the Patch.
The legislation passed in the Senate unanimously. It needs to be passed by the House before going to the desk of Gov. Youngkin (R-VA) to be signed into law.
Ebbin could not be reached for comment.
If it becomes law, the bill would make killing, maiming or poisoning agricultural or domestic animals a Class 5 felony. Under the current law, the above offenses are punishable by a Class 1 misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 6 felony for subsequent offenses.
According to Virginia Law § 18.2-10, a Class 5 felony is punishable by a prison term of no less than one year and no more than a decade, “or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case.” The offender would be subject to a $2,500 fine in lieu of a prison sentence, or be subject to both.
The Patch reported that Ebbin was motivated to sponsor the bill following two animal cruelty offenses that took place in Alexandria last year. Zebra readers may recall the attempted poisoning of a dog in Del Ray. In that case, the man was caught and sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service. Six months of jail time was suspended. The other case involved the discovery of fishhooks in sausage in the area of Duke St. and Ingram St. That suspect has never been found.