The dog that killed animal lover Anthony Riggs
The dog that killed animal lover Anthony Riggs Independent News and Media

Man mauled to death by Rottweiler he adopted hours earlier

ANTHONY Riggs loved dogs. And in the end that was his downfall.

Last week, Mr Riggs, 57, took ownership of a stray that had been taken to a government-run shelter after it was found wandering in a Tennessee town. Hours later, that same dog - a male Rottweiler - had mauled Mr Riggs to death.

Mr Riggs, who had two children, was found dead the floor of his home in Jackson, when his wife returned home. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff's deputies shot the five-year-old dog after it ran out of the house.

Madison County Sheriff's Office said Mr Riggs had adopted the Rottweiler that morning from a county-run animal control facility.

The stray had been picked up five days earlier and showed no signs of aggression while at rabies control, according to the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department.

Thomas Riggs (l) stands with his father Anthony Riggs (r)
Thomas Riggs (l) stands with his father Anthony Riggs (r) Independent News and Media

The Jackson Sun said Mr Riggs' wife, Kathy Riggs, and her colleague, Teresa Sanchez, were also bitten by the dog after they came home.

"He wasn't growling or showing teeth - he just bit us like he did it all the time or something," Ms Sanchez wrote on Facebook.

"It was unreal what that dog did and he should NEVER have been adopted out. Period."

A Jackson city employee had found the stray dog five days earlier, and he had not bitten any handlers while he was in custody, Kim Tedford, director of the county's Regional Health Department, told the local newspaper.

Officials "by no means would adopt an animal out that showed any signs of aggression," Ms Tedford said.

Madison County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tom Mapes told WBBJ-TV that an investigation was ongoing.

"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's just mind-boggling. It's disheartening," he said.