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Tortured, murdered dog sparks new bill

The bill is named after Phillip Torrey’s dog Franky, who was stolen from his Winter Harbor home, tortured, and killed last August.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill to bring justice in all animal abuse cases has been put before a legislative committee in Augusta Wednesday.

Franky’s Law, named for a pug who was severely tortured and killed last summer, was heard in front of the Judiciary Committee at the state house at 9 a.m.

Its been almost a year since Phillip Torrey’s dog Franky washed ashore wrapped in plastic bags onto the private property of the Hancock County District Attorney.

"What you're looking at is not your dog," said Torrey, fighting back tears while speaking to NEWS CENTER Maine's Samantha Sugerman in early September 2018. "He's beaten, shot, and bloated, but then I kind of reached in and pulled his tail out and I could tell it was him."

RELATED: Family wants 'justice for Frankie' after pet dog was killed

Two men have been charged in connection with the dog’s death.

Nathan Burke and Justin Chipman have been indicted on charges of burglary, theft, aggravated criminal mischief, and aggravated cruelty to animals. They are expected in court for arraignment May 6.

RELATED: Family says Frankie's not the only victim in animal abuse case

“An Act to Provide for Court-appointed Advocates for Justice in Animal Cruelty Cases,” sponsored by the committee’s chair Rep. Donna Bailey, (D) Saco, would allow for an advocate to speak for justice during an animal abuse case.

The advocate would be a lawyer or law student who would work pro bono on these cases. There would be no fiscal responsibility on the part of the state.

"It's going to help the court system for free," said Bailey. "I mean, why would we not allow this?"

"Animals don't have a voice," said Hilary Forsley, a second year law student at the University of Maine School of Law.

Forsley and others came out to Wednesday's hearing to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

They're looking to get justice for Franky and all abused pets.

"The language of this bill is very clear in that we as potential advocates would represent the interest of justice," added Forsley. "We're not representing the defendant. We're not representing the animal."

The bill now moves to a committee work session for further discussion.

To view the bill in its entirety, please click the link below. 

SUMMARYThis bill allows courts to appoint law students or volunteer lawyers to advocate for the interests of justice in animal cruelty proceedings.

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