Benton County sheriff’s officials continue to investigate the death of a beloved Kennewick business owner who died following a dog attack at her home last week.
While her wounds sent Billene “Billi” Cameron, 65, to the hospital, a Thurston County medical examiner hasn’t made a determination on what caused her death.
A GoFundMe account created by a family member said Cameron died of complications related to surgery. She died the day after she was attacked by two pit bull mixes while trying to save her dog.
Deputy Coroner Nicole Lee said the autopsy was Wednesday but the pathologist wants to look at more medical records before submitting a report.
Officials expect to have a better idea about the cause of her death by next week, she said.
Benton County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Clark told the Herald because the investigation is ongoing he could not share information on whether the dogs are from the neighborhood or if they had bitten anyone before.
The sheriff’s office has issued no news releases on the attack which happened on Wednesday, Sept. 20, in an unincorporated Benton County “doughnut hole” neighborhood off Canal Drive near Lawrence Scott Park in Kennewick.
Much of the details of the incident have come from family members and friends commenting on social media.
“This community of those my mom knew and some she didn’t have been nothing short of supportive and loving. It’s quite overwhelming,” said her daughter on a GoFundMe update this week.
Cameron and her husband, Dwayne Woodard, and their son Jackson established Woody’s BullPen Bar & Grille at the former Billy’s Bull Pen Tavern in Kennewick in 2018.
What happened to the dogs?
The two dogs were seized by Benton County animal officials and are currently being held at the Benton County Canine Shelter in Kennewick.
Their fate is unclear.
The sheriff’s office has the power to determine if the dogs are dangerous, according to county code.
If that happens, the owner can object to that designation within 10 business days and appeal the issue in court.
If a judge determines that the dogs pose an immediate threat to the public, the owner may be responsible for all of the costs associated with keeping them at the shelter.
County code allows the animal shelter to euthanize any dogs deemed dangerous that are confiscated that have been in the shelter for longer than three days. It’s not clear if the dogs get a second chance after being determined to be dangerous.
If they are returned to the owner, the owner may be required to take several steps to make sure the animals are properly contained, must pay a $500 annual permit and are required to buy insurance.
Cameron’s cousin, Vern Lampman Jr., said last week on Facebook that she was attacked by the dogs when she tried to stop them from biting her pug.
A neighbor saw it happening and climbed over a 6-foot fence to help her, according to the post. He used his cane to beat one of the dogs, allowing Cameron to escape into her house.
But one dog followed her into the house and continued the attack, he said.
The neighbor followed her inside and was able to get the dog away from her using a shovel, said the post.
“She then managed to get into her bathroom, close the door and called 911,” Lampman posted.
Benton County sheriff’s deputies were in the area and arrived quickly to contain the dogs and Cameron was taken to the hospital.
The attack happened about 2 p.m. Wednesday. She died shortly after midnight Thursday, said the post.