A Texas woman who tried unsuccessfully to get multiple government agencies to help a dog that appeared to be left on a balcony with its mouth tied shut was arrested for posting pictures of the dog on Facebook.
Amber Cammack first noticed the brown dog on a neighboring balcony in her apartment complex in Harris County about two weeks ago. She tried for a week to get authorities to intervene. When they refused, Cammack turned to Facebook, where users widely distributed the “porch pup’s” photo, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The dog was apparently left there round the clock — even during rain storms — to the point that the neighbor below had urine and excrement on their balcony. Photos show a thin animal with a band around its muzzle. In one picture, the dog appears to be wearing a diaper.
Cammack has dubbed the dog “June.”
Cammack got a nasty surprise when the Harris County Sheriff himself, Ron Hickman, called her and told her she was harassing the dog’s owners and demanded she remove the post or face arrest. Hickman made good on his threats and Cammack was arrested Monday — but the Harris County district attorney refused to file charges.
“When the sheriff himself calls you and threatens you with arrest that is an extreme chill on your right to freedom of expression,” her attorney, Randall Kallinen told the Chronicle.
The D.A. also declined to file animal cruelty charges against the dog’s owner, citing evidence that doesn’t rise to the Texas penal code. The decision has sparked an outcry.
“The dog had a rubber band around its mouth and was on a wood balcony for days without being walked or taken care of!!!” one woman wrote in response. “This dog needs help and if you need a special law for that-there is something very wrong in Harris County! You should be ashamed of yourself!!!”
“This stinks to high heaven,” another user wrote. “Putting a rubber band around a dog’s snout…what is right with that?! At the very least, this poor dog needs to be surrendered to a rescue group. This is so disgusting on so many levels.”
The Chronicle reports the dog is living with someone else. According to District Attorney Devon Anderson, the dog was evaluated by a veterinarian and found to be in good health.
But the case has stirred passions and doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. During a Thursday press conference, a crime victims’ advocate said the D.A.’s office has done little to prosecute animal cruelty cases, according to Click2Houston.
“Since disbanding the Animal Cruelty Unit of the Harris County D.A.’s Office, 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 during the conference. “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.”