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Canine expert shares next step for case on possible Cocke County animal attacks

Sheriff Fontes put out a warning for people to still be cautious in the area while authorities await forensic reports that could take weeks to be completed.
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office is investigating what appears to be animal attacks along Jimtown Road.

On Wednesday morning, a SWAT team executed a search warrant. They collected DNA evidence from dogs on the property and the man who reported the first body near his property, Charles Owensby, was arrested on drug charges.

Sheriff Armando Fontes says it could take up to a month to process this evidence and that the case will rely heavily on forensic evidence.

Michael Gould, a canine forensic expert, says it’s not typical canine behavior to attack a human unless it is fearful or trained to do so. He said gathering forensic evidence is critical, but he believes they will also need to establish a history of aggressive behavior from these animals.

“It’s never a dog, you can’t hold the dog responsible, just like you can’t hold the three year old responsible for their behavior. It’s really what how they’ve been nurtured and trained to do in the case of dogs,” said Gould.

Sheriff Fontes put out a warning for people to still be cautious in the area while authorities await forensic reports that could take weeks to be completed.

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