Longview Cruelty to Dog Charges Could Turn into Felony

A Longview man arraigned on misdemeanor "cruelty to animal charges" could face felony charges due to a new state law. Twenty Four year old Lee Michael Rhea was arrested Friday after police say he punched and kicked a small dog. Investigators say it happened after a fight with his girlfriend in which he also detained her and later allegedly stole sixty dollars from her. A Boston Terrier named "Pretty Boy" suffered minor injuries and had suffered leg injuries, allegedly from Rhea in a prior attack. Rhea was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. However, an East Texas attorney pointed out to police that a new Texas law makes animal cruelty a felony. The apparent mistake now goes to the district attorney's office to determine what action will be taken. But no word on whether charges will be enhanced. Rhea is free from the Gregg county jail after posting twenty five hundred dollars bond on the original charges of animal cruelty, theft, and unlawful restraint.