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.”
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.