Virginia Man Arrested and Charged with Killing Burned Dog ‘Tommie’

May 21, 2019 Updated: May 21, 2019

Virginia police have arrested a man in the case of a dog that died after being set on fire in a Richmond park.

The pit bull, named “Tommie,” was found on the night of Feb. 10, tied to a fence at Abner Clay Park and set on fire, Richmond Police said in a statement.

Firefighters found the dog had been doused with a flammable liquid and suffered burns to over 40 percent of its body.

Tommie was treated at Virginia Veterinary Center, and “rallied briefly,” police said, but five days later succumbed to his injuries and died.

Jyahshua A. Hill, 20, of St. Peter Street, was arrested on Monday, May 20, by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force, police said.

Hill has been charged with felony animal cruelty.

“There are a lot of people to thank, but I’d like to single out all the citizens who contributed tips that pointed us in the right direction,” Interim Richmond Police Chief William C. Smith said. “That, plus the excellent job done by arson investigators who did the bulk of the work, major crimes detectives, forensics technicians, and animal control officers who all built a strong case to present to the grand jury.”

The director of Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) told WRIC on Monday that in her 15 years of working with animals, this is the worst case of animal cruelty she had witnessed.

“It’s the most evil, I would say, there’s an element of evil and a sadness that have over taken all of the other cases we’ve dealt with,” RACC Director Christie Peters told the outlet. “They said that it’s an unbelievable case. That they’ve had more people from the community rally around this case than they have seen in a very long time.”

“The incident sparked widespread outrage,” a Richmond Police spokesperson said, according to WTVR. “Investigators are crediting an outpouring of information and assistance from the general public that helped them solve this crime.”

Public outcry over the dog’s death led to new legislation dubbed “Tommie’s Law” that made animal cruelty a felony in Virginia, WTKR reported.

The bill raises the penalty for animal abuse from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, which can bring a prison term of up to five years behind bars.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Feb. 15.

Tennessee Dog Who Was Set On Fire Dies

The incident recalls the case of a Tennessee dog that died after it was savagely beaten and set on fire.

The Camden Animal Clinic in Benton County posted an update in early May, according to Fox17 in Nashville.

Sissy, a 6-year-old black Labrador mix, was covered in burn marks and had to receive medical treatment after being beaten, the report said.

Cody Shay Townsend was arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty, aggravated burglary, and trespassing, Fox17 reported in late April.

Townsend allegedly hit the dog with a baseball bat before burning it after dousing it with gasoline.

According to WSMV, Townsend had been burning tree stumps in a yard to get rid of them. After the dog wandered over to him, he grabbed it and shoved it beneath a stump before pouring gasoline on it.

Reports said that Townsend was believed to be under the influence of a controlled substance.

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this article.

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