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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Virginia has made a lot of national attention these last few weeks – and not for good reasons. With political scandals, a few law changes that have come about upon the end of the General Assembly session, and an event that really did not sit well with me; the abuse and later death of pit bull, Tommie. This event in collaboration with the others allowed me to just think how we really need to get this state back in order.

I was out with friends when one of them was scrolling on Instagram, reading on the recent news break of how a pit bull was found near Clay Street, on fire. I was saddened and confused since, at the time, many details were not present. I later came home, with intentions to tell my roommate, Kayla. Kayla is a former volunteer at the Richmond SPCA, shares a love of dogs with me and has even rescued a dog that we currently have in our house. When I went to tell her about the story she stopped me mid-sentence, exclaiming how she saw the dog on fire and called animal control and 911 to get immediate help. She exclaimed how at the scene all she could see was a bonfire in the distance and the dog running, looking like the flames were not as serious as they really were. She thought in her head, “Maybe the dog was just playing? And carelessly ran through the fire – running away since it probably alarmed him.” Later to realize, the atrocity of the situation. Tommie was tied up to a pole of a small Richmond park, with gasoline poured on him. When the fire was set beside him it was attracted to the dog and burned him up. With immediate care and attention, Tommie improved over the course of a few days – slowly walking better, eating and drinking a little more. For a minute there was indeed hope. Unfortunately, after a few days of constant care from workers at the shelters and veterinarians, Tommie passed away peacefully.

This unfortunate situation reached national news attention, affecting many hearts and raising a lot of awareness for other animals that go through abuse such as this without receiving as much attention as Tommie. My roommate was heartbroken, exclaiming that she wishes she knew how bad it was when she called. However, if it wasn’t for her seeing the situation when she did – who knows how Tommie would have suffered. In support of Tommie, as well as other animals that sadly suffer, many local Richmond businesses have had a host of fundraisers, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the local shelters. Due to the amount of money also raised, the dollar amount set for a reward for whoever finds out who executed this awful act has raised from a few thousand dollars to $25,000. Justice needs to be served for whoever did this to Tommie and it has also been talked about to get lawmakers to crack down on those who do these unlawful acts. Justice for Tommie and justice for all animals who have been through these situations.

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Aja is a Junior at VCU studying Political Science. She loves going to brunch, working out, healthy eating and is overly obessed with the Kardashians & her three dogs (Cooper, Bentley and Lulu). You can follow her on Instagram @ajaerinmo!
Keziah is a writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. HCXO!