“I’m so very sorry to share that Tommie just passed away. He had just finished having his bandages changed and stopped breathing; his body simply gave out. Tommie was pain-free and surrounded by people that loved him when he passed,” the Richmond Animal Care and Control announced on Facebook.
“Needless to say, we are all devastated and angry and sad and terribly disappointed.”
The pit bull was found at 7:30 p.m. at Abner Clary Park “covered in accelerant and intentionally set on fire,” the animal control said on Monday.
The fire left burns over 40 percent of the dog’s body. After the flames were doused, he was rushed to the Virginia Veterinary Centers.
“I have to say that we don’t get rattled by much at RACC, and have witnessed many ugly cases, but this one makes us want to just sit on the floor and cry,” animal control said.
Over the next several days, animal control gave people updates on Tommie’s condition, noting that donations were pouring in and there was enough to cover the dog’s medical bill.
In the last update, authorities said that the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for tying the dog up and setting fire to him has risen to $25,000. This increase was a result of individual donations and pledges from The Humane Society of the United States, the Cathy Kangas Foundation for Animals, and the Humane Rescue Alliance.
Tommie says goodnight and thank you to everyone for the love and support today. He is stable and comfortable and we are…
Richmond Councilwoman Kim Gray said that she’s working with police officers to try to prevent future incidents including putting more security cameras in place at the park.
“Anyone who’s this cruel to animals is a pretty depraved individual, and it’s scary to think that they’re walking around among us,” Gray told WHSV.
State Sen. Bill DeSteph, meanwhile, said what happened highlights the need to pass legislation he sponsored that would increase the penalties for animal cruelty. Right now, under Virginia law, the person is only charged with a felony if a dog or cat dies as the direct result of cruelty.
“I don’t think the outcome should matter on this: if you beat or torture a dog its a heinous act, and it leads to other heinous acts which should be a felony,” DeSteph said.
Firefighters Rescue Dogs
Four Richmond firefighters were hailed for rescuing Tommie from the fire.
Firefighters Dan Del Rocco, Daquane Ford, Michael Tedesco, and Lt. Brandon Bullock said they received the call to respond to a fire. They were inside Richmond Fire Station 5, which is next to the park.
“We had just finished eating dinner,” Bullock told WTVR. “We looked outside the door and you could see the dog in distress in the park across the street.”
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) February 14, 2019
While they rushed to the scene, Del Rocco said they feared whoever set the dog on fire was lurking nearby. “I wasn’t sure if the guy who set the dog on fire was still out there,” he said. “And if he was—if he was OK with harming a dog I’m sure he was okay with harming us.”
The dog was running around because the fire burned through the leash that had tied him to to the pole.
“He was rolling over trying to put himself out,” Del Rocco said. “At that point, it was becoming a concern that the dog was also going to get hit on the street. Fortunately, we were able to corner the dog, he hid under a vehicle and we were kind of able to get a rope around him so he wouldn’t run into the street.”
Anyone with information was asked to call Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.
From NTD News