Tommie the dog’s legacy lives on 3 years after his killing

Tommie RACC.jpg
Mural honors Tommie, dog set on fire in Richmond park
Posted at 6:15 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2023-08-11 14:25:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. — The director of Richmond’s animal shelter could have never imagined all of the good that would come out of something so horrific three years ago.

In 2019, Richmond firefighters found a dog chained to a fence in Abner Clay Park and set on fire. Tommie, who was named by veterinarians during his recovery, died a few days later.

His death sparked a nationwide conversation, and the urge for Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) staff to ignite change across the Commonwealth.

RACC set up the "Tommie Fund" to help smaller shelters across the state with excess donations. The fund transformed the way municipal shelters can save other animals lives.

The "Team Tommie" license plate was approved through the Department of Motor Vehicles. RACC Director Christie Chipps-Peters said sales from the license plate raised $30,000 in just six months.

Peters estimated the funds have paid the medical bills for more than 100 animals that would’ve otherwise be euthanized.

“It makes me feel like we did something great and big, and other people see it and value it and want to be a part of it, which is more than we could ever ask for,” Peters described.

Tommie’s story touched lives across the world.

“We had Facebook messages from Sweden, England, Canada - everywhere,” Peters recalled. “We had a donation from every state in the United States and seven different countries.”

CBS 6’s Brendan King asked Peters why Tommie’s story resonated with so many people.

“It was such a savage act of cruelty. I think there isn’t a person with kindness in their heart that couldn’t feel that. It’s a universal pain,” she responded.

Peters continues to encourage local municipal shelters to sign up to receive money through the Tommie Fund.

Tommie’s killer, who admitted to the crime, was given the maximum five-year jail sentencein Virginia.



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