RICHMOND, Va. — If you're charged with abusing an animal in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it will now be a felony.
"Tommie's Law" was signed by Governor Ralph Northam, which ups the penalty from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony. That carries a punishment of one to five years in jail.
Animal rights advocates say the new law closes a loophole that allowed the perpetrator to only be charged with a misdemeanor if the animal survived the abuse.
"Tommie's Law" is named of a pit bull that was found badly burned and chained to a fence in Richmond earlier this year.