Woman arrested after reporting animal abuse wants answers

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter, Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - A story involving a dog known as the "porch pooch" has gone viral and continues to have legs.

The story made headlines after one of Karress Buckman's neighbors posted video and pictures online of the dog allegedly being held on a balcony in abusive conditions at a condo in north Houston.

People were most upset about the dog having a string around its mouth and wearing a diaper.

"The diaper was due to the dog having loose stool," Buckman said. "We didn't want it to drip down on the neighbor below because she had urinated."

"She" is June, the puppy seen in the infamous photos and videos that Buckman said is a 6-month-old Lab-German shepherd mix. Buckman said June belongs to a friend of her son's who was staying with the family for about a week.

"Other than my neighbor below, nobody else attempted to knock on the door, ask about the dog, inquire about the dog or any of the above," Buckman said.

The controversy has even led Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson to speak out. In response to allegations, her office failed to protect the dog Anderson defended herself on the D.A. Office's Facebook page.

"As the owner of a beautiful dog named Ellie, I do not condone how this dog was treated," Anderson said in the recorded message. "But under Texas law, there is no probable cause to warrant criminal charges."

Buckman's neighbor, Amber Cammack, is the neighbor who posted the photos and video. Cammack was arrested after Harris County Sheriff's deputies said residents complained that Cammack posted their private information online.

"I was not asking anyone to harass them. I was asking for somebody to call the S.P.C.A. if they knew anyone there, animal control, anyone who could help us," she said.

The Sheriff's Office confirms Cammack talked to supervisors and even the sheriff himself who warned her she could be arrested. The Sheriff's Office said the district attorney's office accepted misdemeanor charges of repeated electronic harassment.

Cammack said she spent 14 hours in jail.

"I was treated like a hardcore murderer, felon," she said.

The district attorney said a veterinarian checked the dog Monday and an investigator checked the dog Tuesday. Anderson said the examinations found no open wounds or marks and the dog was not dehydrated or malnourished. The district attorney chose not to file charges against Cammack and Cammack was released from jail.

Anderson said the dog is back with her owner.

Thursday, Kim Ogg, a crime victims' advocate, appeared at a press conference held by Cammack's attorney, Randall Kallinan, to ask the DA to fully investigate Cammack's original animal abuse report.

"Since disbanding the Animal Cruelty Unit of the HCDAO, this district attorney has done nothing to protect animals from senseless cruelty. So few criminal cases have been filed since Anderson took office in 2013, it affirms nothing will be done to stop abusers and leaves the impression that animal cruelty is acceptable," Ogg said. "Reports of animal abuse must be responded to immediately. Delayed response kills animals. No response insures that even more abuse will occur. Putting a complaint form on your website and then failing to follow up on the complaints is worse than doing nothing."

In response to Ogg's claims, the Harris County District Attorney Office said they do in fact have an animal cruelty division that consists of six people including, three prosecutors, two administrators and one investigator.

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