Richmond man charged with killing burned dog ‘Tommie’

Crime

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Police have made an arrest in the animal cruelty case of ‘Tommie,’ the dog that died after being found set on fire in Richmond’s Abner Clay Park back in February.

Jyahshua A. Hill, 20, of the 1300 block of St. Peter Street, was arrested without incident shortly before 3 p.m. Monday by members of the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force.

The February incident sparked widespread outrage. Investigators are crediting an outpouring of information and assistance from the general public that helped them solve this crime. “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,” said Interim Police Chief William C. Smith said in a release. “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 told 8News on Monday that in her 15 years of working with animals, Tommie’s case of animal cruelty is by far the worst. 

“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 said. “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.” 

Hill was indicted by a grand jury on May 8 on one count of felony animal cruelty. 

“It really is a win for team Tommie,” Peters told 8News. Peters said donations for RACC came in from all 50 states and 13 different countries. The #TeamTommie T-shirts raised over $90,000. “It’s been a lot. It’s enough that we can care for the animals in the shelter for the emergency care for the rest of the year,” Peters said. “It’s just a tremendous feeling to have so many people supporting the work that we do here.”

Tommie’s memorial continued to grow on Monday with new signs put up in his honor at Abner Clay Park. 

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