Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill into law that will make animal cruelty against dogs and cats a felony in the state of Virginia. Under Tommie’s Law, named after a Richmond Pit Bull who was severely abused and who later died from his injuries, any person who “tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain” or “cruelly and unnecessarily beats, maims or mutilates any dog or cat” could be fined $2,500 and be sentenced to up to five years in prison. The new law goes into effect July 1.
Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 20 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is contributing writer for National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care (April 2019) and author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Making Sense of Animal Phrases (Lumina Press, 2006). Jackie is a regular contributor to pet and veterinary industry media and is the former editor of numerous pet magazines, including Dog World, Natural Dog, Puppies 101, Kittens 101 and the Popular Cats Series. Prior to starting her career in publishing, Jackie spent eight years working in veterinary hospitals where she assisted veterinarians as they treated dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets, reptiles, birds and one memorable lion cub. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons and miniature poodle Jäger. Reach her at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.