Man Adopts Shelter Dog, Is Killed by It Within Hours

Rottweiler mauls Tennessee man just 5 days after coming off the streets
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2015 9:20 AM CST
Man Adopts Shelter Dog, Is Killed by It Within Hours
In this April 2, 2015, photo, a different Rottweiler is shown.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A Tennessee man whose ex-wife says "related to dogs better than to people" was killed by a stray dog he adopted, the same day he took it home from an animal shelter, the Jackson Sun reports. Anthony Riggs, 57, left the Madison County Rabies Control facility on Thursday with a 5-year-old Rottweiler, taking the dog to meet his 20-year-old son, Thomas. Riggs also stopped to show the dog to a neighbor, WBBJ reports. But when Riggs' wife, Kathy, came home, a horrible scene awaited: Sheriff's deputies and EMTs responded to a 3:30pm call about a dog attack and found Riggs on the floor; he was pronounced dead at the scene, per the Sun. Riggs' ex-wife, Adrienne Riggs, tells the paper that Kathy and a co-worker were also both bitten and that the dog was shot and killed by deputies when it ran out of the house.

Riggs' family is seeking answers as to why this dog—a stray picked up by a city worker five days before—suddenly turned on its new owner, and why it was adopted out in the first place, per the Sun. Kim Tedford, director of the county health department, which manages the shelter, says staff wouldn't have adopted out a dog showing signs of aggression. But Adrienne Riggs isn't buying it. "I don't believe what they said," she says. "A docile dog does not turn in three hours and kill somebody." Tedford says an autopsy will check for rabies, other diseases, and abuse, but she concedes no one knows if the dog was sick or vaccinated. Per Tennessee law, strays have to be held for at least three days and given food and water—but not examined or tested. "They don't assess the dogs, they don't vet them," Adrienne says. "They just adopt them out." (A Texas woman's pit bulls killed a beagle, then she sued the beagle's owners.)

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