February 5, 2019
To Virginia Senator Bill R. DeSteph, Jr (R) for introducing Senate Bill 1604 that would increase the penalty for convicted animal abusers.
Choosing to inflict pain on any sentient being is both cruel and unjust. When people intentionally abuse animals, they should be held accountable for their abhorrent actions. Currently, in Virginia, animal abusers face being charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if they are convicted of animal abuse, and a Class 6 felony only if the animal dies. An individual convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor may face up to 12 months in jail, whereas a Class 6 felony may face up to 5 years in jail. Both convictions may face a fine up to $2,500. Virginia Senator Bill DeSteph Jr. introduced Senate Bill 1604 at the beginning of 2019 to hopefully change that. Many in the Senate agreed, unanimously, that individuals who commit these egregious acts of animal abuse should face a Class 6 felony. The House agreed as well with a 95-1 vote. The bill is waiting to be signed by Governor Ralph Northam.
Take Action: Virginians contact Governor Ralph Northam to show your support that animal abusers should face an increased penalty.