Tommie, a Pit Bull, was tied to a pole, doused in an inflammable liquid, and set on fire by an unidentified abuser in Richmond Park in Virginia. He was rescued and given intensive treatment for the burns that he suffered on nearly 40 percent of his body, but sadly, Tommie lost the battle and died five days later.

Tommie’s death came as an awful shock to the community. People were devastated and pleaded to the lawmakers to make some necessary changes in the law. The current Virginia law required an animal to die before the abuser faces any felony charges.

The new bill, dubbed as “Tommie’s Law,” would change such animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, which can draw up to five years in prison. This bill has been signed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, and will be effective from July 1, 2019.

The bill, which is only applicable to dogs and cats, also elevates cruel and unnecessary “beating, maiming, mutilating, or killing” of these pets to a felony offense. This law was long overdue and has come as a welcomed change to protect innocent pets from potential abusers. We hope Tommie’s Law helps avert such future tragedies.

Click the video below to watch how Tommie’s torture and subsequent death helped put this law in motion.