Officials call in bite expert in dog attack death

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — A week after a 5-year-old rottweiler attacked and killed 57-year-old Anthony Riggs in this home off Highway 70, Jackson-Madison County officials said they’ve reached out to a bite expert and animal behavioral specialist. One such expert is Ron Berman, who spoke with WBBJ via FaceTime on Friday to explain why someone like him would be called in. “You do a forensic investigation and you’re looking at all kinds of things that the average person wouldn’t really know to look at,” Berman said. Berman said he has investigated more than 700 dog bite cases in his 33-year career, and he examines each bite, which can reveal more about what happened. “Well, I think the case here, they’re probably trying to find out if this dog’s temperament or prior behavior had shown that the dog was dangerous,” Berman said. In this case, Riggs had adopted the dog just hours before the attack. The expert said even though things may seem straightforward, there’s no true pattern when it comes to dogs. “A lot of things about dogs that people think they know are not accurate, and what’s accurate in one case is not accurate in another case,” Berman said. “Every dog’s an individual and they have to be looked at as an individual.” WBBJ reached out to the health department Friday, and they said they’ll have no further comment until the dog expert’s investigation is complete. We’re told a necropsy, or animal autopsy, on the dog and an autopsy on Riggs have been completed. Our attempts to reach out to the Riggs family were declined, saying they still are trying to cope with this difficult situation.

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