• November 22, 2014

Parents of child killed by dog raise questions about animal laws

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Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014 4:30 am

Angela and Raymane Robinson know the pain of losing a child all too well.

A framed photo of a smiling child resting on a living room table near the couch is a reminder of what they lost.

Raymane Camari Robinson Jr., the couple’s 2-year-old son, was killed March 1 after he was attacked by a large dog in a nearby Killeen neighborhood.

“It’s just not fair,” said Raymane Robinson, a former soldier who hopes his family’s tragedy encourages officials to change laws governing animal attacks.

Camari was one of two children attacked by the bull mastiff while walking with an 18-year-old man near Iduma Elementary School.

The Robinsons said a woman was moving the dog from the backyard to the garage of a home on Pennington Drive when the animal broke free. The dog first attacked an 8-year-old girl. Her 18-year-old brother fought the dog off, then it turned toward Camari, biting the boy’s face and dragging him down the street. He was transported in critical condition to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, where he died.

No criminal charges

More than a month after the mauling, the dog’s owner — who was not home during the attack and has since moved away, according to the Robinsons — is facing no criminal charges in connection with the attack.

“Basically, we were told that there wasn’t enough evidence for criminal charges to be filed,” Angela Robinson said.

Bell County Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe confirmed Friday the DA’s office was contacted by the Killeen Police Department about the case. Bledsoe said that while the office, which prosecutes felony cases in Bell County, did not formally screen the case, it did advise and consult the department on the matter.

Bledsoe said the Robinsons met with representatives from the DA’s office, who explained why the owner likely will not face any criminal charges.

In current laws regarding animal attacks, many of the violations are predicated on the animal having a previous history of attacks or documented aggressive behavior.

“Under the facts of this case, there was no prior history of aggression,” Bledsoe said. “We agree with (KPD’s) assessment that it’s not sufficient (evidence to file charges).

“It doesn’t satisfy the legal requirements when there isn’t a history of vicious behavior.”

‘Slap on the hand’

While the bull mastiff was euthanized, the only person cited after Camari’s death was the woman moving the dog from the backyard to the garage. According to the Killeen Municipal Court records, the 66-year-old woman, who was caring for the dog while its owner was away, was issued a citation for “dog at large.” The misdemeanor carries a $164 fine.

“How can it just be a slap on the hand?” asked Omaira Payne, the mother of the 8-year-old and 18-year-old involved in the attack. Payne also is a longtime friend of the Robinsons. “We lost someone, and we have to live with that. How can no one be held responsible?”

While the Robinsons and Paynes can pursue the matter in civil court, the experience made both families raise concerns about the laws governing such attacks.

“I want to know how many more incidents like this are going to happen,” Raymane Robinson said. “I want to fight to get these laws changed.”

Both families said they would look to each other for strength as they continue to cope with the aftermath of the attack.

“We’re the ones who have to live without Camari’s presence,” Raymane Robinson said of his only child. “I’m not going to come home to him hugging my leg.”

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13 comments:

  • TwiceShyNow posted at 2:07 am on Sat, May 24, 2014.

    TwiceShyNow Posts: 1

    With all due respect, this is so not true. Example. Watch beagle pups howl before they even open their eyes! No one taught them that. It is a behavioral trait bred in. NO one has to teach herding dogs to HERD, and RETRIEVERS fetch things the moment they can see and run. Fighting breeds are prone to a trigger that simply isn't present in many other breeds. ADD that PitBulls have SHARK style teeth, and Bear trap jaws (ask first responders what they see when they go to a pitball mauling, or find pics online. These animals should be kept in the same conditions wehre people are allowed to keep a tiger-not for what we think it will do, but for what it CAN do. TOO TOO MANY kids are killed by pit pups born in their own homes and raised by loving families. Google; Cat saves boy from dog attack. Not a pit, but proof that these attacks are NOT provoked by the hapless tots they stalk and devour.

     
  • rachnick posted at 11:54 am on Sat, Apr 12, 2014.

    rachnick Posts: 2

    The City of Killeen and Killeen Animal Control have always been negligent when it comes to controlling animals within city limits. A very aggressive pit bull belonging to people who lived behind us got into our yard. The dog had tried to bite holes through our chain-link fence many times. One night, it succeeded in getting into our yard. It ran around the yard snarling and snapping and trying to get at our two dogs who were inside their dog run. I called the police. The officer called animal control and then attempted to enter the yard. The dog charged him. The officer drew his gun but animal control showed up. They were able to catch the dog with a pole and they took it away in their truck. I thought that at least the owners would have to pay to pick their dog up and pay to have it neutered (which it wasn't). But no. The next day the dog was back in its yard. I called animal control and they said their officers took the dog back to its owner the same night they picked it up! Really? And the icing on the cake? The owners of the dog showed up on our doorstep to dress us down for calling the police. They said animal control gave them our address and told them we had called. We ended up spending $4000 for a privacy fence to protect us from the neighbor's dog.
    A child should be able to walk around its neighborhood without being viciously attacked. The parents are not at fault. The fault lies with the owner. The owner should have known what his dog was capable of. The only ones who don't are those owners who leave their dogs in the back yard all the time without any human contact. The fault also lies with the city. Somehow they've decided that always defaulting to saving the dog and favoring the dog owner in these situations is the right thing to do. Maybe they've seen too many episodes of Animal Cops. What they need to do is look at their own facility. Half of the dogs up for adoption are pit bulls, pit bull mixes and other dangerous breeds. Why? Because owners can't handle them or just release them. Having some kind of liability for even first-time attacks in which someone is hurt or killed would (maybe) make people think twice before buying these breeds.
    I hope the little boys' parents have luck in suing the owner of the dog, the owner of the property, the insurance company, etc.

     
  • NollieBoo posted at 8:22 am on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    NollieBoo Posts: 2

    most of the times is not the dog's fault either...is how the dog is raised!!!!!!

     
  • NollieBoo posted at 8:21 am on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    NollieBoo Posts: 2

    This is just ridiculous! The owner of the dog should be held responsible since the 66 year old lady is obviusly incapable of keeping the dog under her control.
    Regardless of previous attacks or not, is the same thing like if someone shoots another person...it maybe the first time killing someone but you still a murderer no matter what...if you kill more than 3-4 people then you are a serial killer.
    The Robinson family should be compensated for losing their son.

     
  • Bubba posted at 9:58 am on Mon, Apr 7, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 748

    There is no blame to be shared in this incident. The blame and responsibility for this incident falls on the dog owner alone. The failure to control the animal resulted in a death. It is no different than a traffic incident involving death-charges must be filed and the owner of the dog prosecuted.

     
  • MerrittClifton posted at 1:24 pm on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    MerrittClifton Posts: 3

    Of the 4,637 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 3,139 (68%) were pit bulls; 549 were Rottweilers; 3,947 (85%) were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, bull mastiffs, Cane Corsos, Presa Canarios, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 546 human fatalities, 285 were killed by pit bulls; 86 were killed by Rottweilers; 412 (75%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,783 people who were disfigured, 1,889 (68%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 320 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 2,339 (84%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls--exclusive of their use in dogfighting--also inflict more than 70 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are less than 6% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.

     
  • Dawn posted at 10:28 am on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    Dawn Posts: 9

    People keep commenting about the parents should have been with their child. An 18 year old was with the 2 year old child-the parents-trusted as responsible. Switch the situation-say the parents were with the group. The exact same situation could have happened-if the parents were with them. The same situation could have happened to an adult or elderly person going for a walk. The point here is the owner failed- regardless of the situation and a human being-died.

     
  • Dawn posted at 10:05 am on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    Dawn Posts: 9

    I would like to see laws similar for animals that they have in Europe. I believe certain breeds are required to wear muzzles in Europe. Owners need to be held accountable-when someone dies. I am certain if laws changed and owners went to jail when their dog killed-these owners would be much more responsible. A week ago my husband and i were riding our bikes at Dana peak park. An owner had 2 Rottweilers not on a leash. We stopped our bikes so we would not startle the dogs. As one of the dogs passed-we noticed it slightly jumped at the sight of my bike. It was lucky for us when the owner called the dog it followed the owners directions and followed the owner. My concern is why certain owners are not more responsible for their dogs and whey these owners would even risk the chance of their dog killing or hurting someone. In certain communities that have homeowners associations-certain breeds are not allowed. The reason why these certain breeds get a bad rap is because the owners fail to contain their animal. These breeds are not typical pets. I personally would compare certain breeds to owning something like a lion or tiger. Not everyone can own one-and you would never see one being moved without a leash and muzzle. Really this is about doing the right thing-all the time-with these breeds. Owners are selfish who do not protect the public and others from the dangerous breed they own. It's time, now-for proper laws.

     
  • Trish posted at 9:47 am on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    Trish Posts: 6

    Eliza the County Attorney's office should have had this Bill on file or access to it. I am sorry for the parent's loss. As an adult you do not let a 2 year old go to the park w/o a parent period. I don't care if the other boy was 18. The parent's say man but I am sorry an 18 yr old does not keep his eyes on a 2 year old like a parent. The caretaker of the Mastiff was at fault, she should have had garage door closed before dog was moved period. You can bet when the kids saw the very large dog running towards them that they screamed and ran. The dog probably was running out to play and got startled by reaction and the whole situation went tragic. As a parent and a grandparent I will always be out front with them if they are small playing outside. Walk your children to the bus stop, or to school. Don't just say I love you and the last time you may see them is when you shut the door. Be aware of your neighborhood and animals. Or the adults that prey on our children. We live in a bad world. Parents get outside w/ your kids don't let them be a statistic. I hate the word over protective, but you have to face facts of what goes on now. Wake up to the real world.

     
  • OldWoman posted at 9:41 am on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    OldWoman Posts: 28

    hank2729 said: "If a breed of dog is identified as a danger, a law needs to be passed to have that breed of dog immediately killed throughout the nation, without exception."

    We then must absolutely kill all Chihuahuas! Hank ....how do you determine an entire breed to be dangerous? As long as you present a good representative of a breed to every bad one - you cannot declare the entire breed dangerous and to be killed off. To elaborate on that thought - if certain bulls are known to be aggressive, kill all bovine of that breed? Just as with humans, it has to be determined on a case by case basis. I would rather advocate for stricter requirements for animal owners, such as mandatory basic eduction in species' needs and proper treatment of animals. You have to get a license to drive a car - you have to get certified to own animals. Learn to socialize your dogs, to not let your dogs roam the neighborhood, to keep your cats indoors, to properly leash train your dogs, how to keep them confined safely (and how to have some common sense) - but NOT kill an entire breed.

     
  • tyrone2377 posted at 8:31 am on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    tyrone2377 Posts: 2

    Directly to Hank2729: Before you put the blame on the parents you need to get your facts straight. That's why they called them animals. How are you going to teach safety to a 2 year old child and a 8 year old child coming from the park playing. Those type of words you post are as belittled as you are. If this conversation needs to be talked about personally, that can happen also. Animals are not meant to be tamed. Just because this society have given more rights to an animal that to human life don't makes it right. You don't judge any situation because you haven't stop living yet. As a homeowner and renting any property, you should ensure your tenants are responsible. They are adults. Children are not adults.

     
  • hank2729 posted at 8:01 am on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    hank2729 Posts: 7

    It is very sad and unfortunate that these people lost their son in this incident. The problem I see though is that the blame needs to be shared by both adult members that are involved in this situation. The owner of the dog, and the parents of the child. The reasoning is that the parents are responsible for the safety of their own children and everything that happens to the child. The owner of the dog is responsible for any damage the dog does to anyone or anything. Insurance companies shift blame to the property owner of the dog if something happens. If a breed of dog is identified as a danger, a law needs to be passed to have that breed of dog immediately killed throughout the nation, without exception. If the parents have not taught a child or other family member how to deal with the situation to prevent injury or death of a person regardless of age, they need to be held responsible, and the pet owner needs to be left alone. The education system needs to share responsibility for the loss in a situation like this because they are not teaching children about the danger connected to animals in our world. Again, I am sorry for the loss of the child, but the method of handling of this situation and others that occur needs to be handled with a share of penalties.

     
  • Eliza posted at 7:46 am on Sun, Apr 6, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 860

    Texas -Lillian's Law HB 1355

    By: Gattis, Anchia, Naishtat, Delisi, Rose, H.B. No. 1355
    et al.

    A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
    AN ACT
    relating to dog attacks on persons; creating an offense.
    BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
    SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as "Lillian's Law" in
    memory of Mrs. Lillian Stiles. This Act is also dedicated to the
    memory of Mrs. Fannie Pearl Pharms, Ms. Cheryl Marie Floyd, and all
    other victims of unprovoked dog attacks.
    SECTION 2. The heading to Subchapter A, Chapter 822, Health
    and Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
    SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS; DOGS THAT ATTACK PERSONS OR
    ARE A DANGER TO PERSONS
    SECTION 3. Section 822.001, Health and Safety Code, is
    amended by adding Subdivisions (3) and (4) to read as follows:
    (3) "Dangerous dog," "dog," "owner," and "secure
    enclosure" have the meanings assigned by Section 822.041.
    (4) "Secure" means to take steps that a reasonable
    person would take to ensure a dog remains on the owner's property,
    including confining the dog in an enclosure that is capable of
    preventing the escape or release of the dog.
    SECTION 4. Subchapter A, Chapter 822, Health and Safety
    Code, is amended by adding Section 822.0011 to read as follows:
    Sec. 822.0011. APPLICATION TO CERTAIN PROPERTY. For
    purposes of this subchapter, a person's property includes property
    the person is entitled to possess or occupy under a lease or other
    agreement.
    SECTION 5. Section 822.005, Health and Safety Code, is
    amended to read as follows:
    Sec. 822.005. ATTACK BY DOG. (a) A person commits an
    offense if the person is the owner of a dog and the person:
    (1) with criminal negligence fails to secure the dog
    and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs
    at a location other than the owner's property and that causes
    serious bodily injury or death to the other person; or
    (2) knows the dog is a dangerous dog and the dangerous
    dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs at a
    location other than a secure enclosure in which the dog is
    restrained in accordance with Subchapter D and that causes serious
    bodily injury or death to the other person.
    (b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third
    degree unless the attack causes death, in which event the offense is
    a felony of the second degree.
    (c) If a person is found guilty of an offense under this
    section, the court may order the dog destroyed by a person listed in
    Section 822.004.
    (d) For purposes of this section, an owner knows a dog is a
    dangerous dog when the owner learns as described by Section
    822.042(g) the owner is the owner of a dangerous dog.
    (e) A person who is subject to prosecution under this
    section and another law may be prosecuted under either or both this
    section and the other law. [PROVOCATION OR LOCATION OF ATTACK
    IRRELEVANT. Except as provided by Section 822.003(f), this
    subchapter applies to any dog that causes a person's death or
    serious bodily injury by attacking, biting, or mauling the person,
    regardless of whether the dog was provoked and regardless of where
    the incident resulting in the person's death or serious bodily
    injury occurred.]
    SECTION 6. Subchapter A, Chapter 822, Health and Safety
    Code, is amended by adding Sections 822.006 and 822.007 to read as
    follows:
    Sec. 822.006. DEFENSES. (a) It is a defense to prosecution
    under Section 822.005(a) that the person is a veterinarian, a
    veterinary clinic employee, a peace officer, a person employed by a
    recognized animal shelter, or a person employed by this state or a
    political subdivision of this state to deal with stray animals and
    has temporary ownership, custody, or control of the dog in
    connection with that position.
    (b) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a)
    that the person is an employee of the Texas Department of Criminal
    Justice or a law enforcement agency and trains or uses dogs for law
    enforcement or corrections purposes and is training or using the
    dog in connection with the person's official capacity.
    (c) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a)
    that the person is a dog trainer or an employee of a guard dog
    company under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code, and has temporary
    ownership, custody, or control of the dog in connection with that
    position.
    (d) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a)
    that the person is disabled and uses the dog to provide assistance,
    the dog is trained to provide assistance to a person with a
    disability, and the person is using the dog to provide assistance in
    connection with the person's disability.
    (e) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a)
    that the person attacked by the dog was at the time of the attack
    engaged in conduct prohibited by Chapters 19, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29,
    and 30, Penal Code.
    Sec. 822.007. LOCAL REGULATION OF DOGS. This subchapter
    does not prohibit a municipality or county from adopting leash or
    registration requirements applicable to dogs.
    SECTION 7. Sections 822.044(b) and (c), Health and Safety
    Code, are amended to read as follows:
    (b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor[,
    unless the attack causes serious bodily injury or death, in which
    event the offense is a Class A misdemeanor].
    (c) If a person is found guilty of an offense under this
    section, the court may order the dangerous dog destroyed by a person
    listed in Section 822.004 [822.003].
    SECTION 8. Section 822.044(d), Health and Safety Code, is
    repealed.
    SECTION 9. (a) The change in law made by this Act applies
    only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this
    Act. For purposes of this section, an offense is committed before
    the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurs
    before that date.
    (b) An offense committed before the effective date of this
    Act is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed,
    and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
    SECTION 10. This Act takes effect September 1, 2007.