RICHMOND, Va. -- Funeral arrangements for Tommie -- the dog found tied to a pole and set on fire Sunday in Richmond -- have been released.
Officials with Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) said that thanks to a generous donor, Tommie will be laid to rest at the Pet Memorial Park Cemetery (1701 Westbury Drive) in Henrico on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m.
"This event will be open to the public for anyone who wants to say goodbye," officials noted on Facebook. "We are so grateful for the overwhelming support and the opportunity to put Tommie to rest surrounded by people that love him."
As of 5:30 p.m. Friday, more than 380 people indicated they planned to attend and another 2400 indicated an interest in attending.
Kathryn Nicholas thanked volunteers for "giving this precious soul the love and respect he always should have had."
"I live in PA but if I was able I would be there to say goodbye to Tommie....I will be there in spirit," Cynthia Allmond Dunne posted. "RIP Tommie, you are no longer in pain."
Shelter Director: 'Save a life in Tommie’s honor'
RACC Director Christie Chipps Peters shared the sad news of Tommie's passing early Friday morning.
“It took me an hour-and-a-half to pull it together enough to say the words I wanted to say in the way I wanted to say it,” Peters said.
Peters said the pup stopped breathing and that his body “just gave out” five days of fighting to recover from being tied to a fence, doused in accelerant and then set on fire in Abner Clay Park.
While 40-percent of his body was burned, officials were cautiously optimistic when Tommie stood up and began to walk Thursday afternoon.
"We were all sort of collectively thinking we might win," Peters said. “And so, it's even harder... at a time when we thought we might get there."
Peters said she going to remember Tommie not for the horrific act that brought him to the shelter, but for the kindness that his story prompted.
In the days since Tommie was found injured, thousands of people in Central Virginia and around the country followed his progress through social media updates provided by RACC.
"You know, animal control is hard. It's hard work and it's been an incredible feeling of love from the community,” Peters said.
Peters said that even though Tommie had passed people can still help the shelter with Team Tommie shirts.
However, she added that there is another crucial way to help another shelter animal find a forever home.
“We have tons available and every shelter across the country is full, so go adopt” Peters urged. “Save a life in Tommie’s honor.”
Reward tops $25,000
Additionally, the reward for information leading to an arrest in Tommie's case has grown to $25,000.
"We remain steadfast in our dedication to find the person now responsible for Tommie’s death," officials posted on Facebook.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Richmond Police, call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or submit a tip online at http://www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smart phones may also be used. All three Crime Stoppers methods of contact are anonymous.