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Man attacked, killed by newly adopted dog

Jordan Hall
jhall@wbbjtv.com

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. -- A Madison County man is dead after his newly adopted dog attacked him Thursday afternoon.

Charlie Butler owns the antique mall beside the house on Highway 70, and said a woman came over screaming for help. He said he never expected to find Anthony Riggs dead in the home with his newly adopted companion as the suspected killer.

"We had become real good friends, and he happened to come in yesterday morning and had gotten a dog," Butler said. "It just all went from there. He showed me the dog yesterday morning, and he went home and she got home in the evening and found what had happened."

The Madison County Sheriff's Office said a 5-year-old Rottweiler attacked and killed the 67-year-old Thursday afternoon.

Just hours earlier, Riggs had come back from Jackson-Madison County Rabies Control with a brand new friend he thought would be a great companion for him.

"When I got over there at the time, all were upset," Butler said. "I didn't know what had happened, but when I got over there the dog was trying to attack her, and it was just a job to try and get him out of the house. But the sheriff showed up and took care of the rest of it."

Deputies put down the dog, fearing he would attack the people who had gathered outside.

"It's just one of those tragic stories that we want to encourage people to adopt pets, but then you have a situation like this that occurs, and it just is mind-boggling. It's disheartening," Tom Mapes with the Madison County Sheriff's Office said.

"My heart and prayers and thoughts are with the family this morning, because that was really something to walk in on. It had to be very hard," Butler said.

The Madison County Health Department wouldn't comment on their pet adoption policy and whether or not they tell new owners if the pets have been aggressive in the past. They did say they were working with the sheriff's office on the investigation.

Investigators still haven't uncovered what caused the dog to attack.

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