Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Retired Policeman Changed Focus to Different Kind of Killer; James Crosby Is Now a Specialist in Canine Aggression

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Retired Policeman Changed Focus to Different Kind of Killer; James Crosby Is Now a Specialist in Canine Aggression

Article excerpt

Byline: ANNE MARIE APOLLO

James Crosby is on his way to interview a pair of accused killers.

The retired Jacksonville Sheriff's Office lieutenant will consider previous attacks and look to cutting-edge technology such as DNA, blood, hair and fluids on the scene, as well as crime-scene photos.

The suspects are German shepherds. The victim is a 2-year-old child in North Carolina.

When the rare fatal dog attack happens, Crosby responds.

A specialist in canine aggression whose investigations are in collaboration with the University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute, he works with law enforcement agencies on the best way to investigate and collect information on the cases.

En route north Tuesday, he also offered his assistance to the Clay County Sheriff's Office in Tuesday's deadly attack.

In each instance, Crosby ponders what leads a dog to attack and who is to blame.

It isn't always the dog. Human mistakes, such as leaving a child unattended with an animal, along with the dog's treatment and upbringing, almost always come into play, he said.

The research, aided by science and crime reconstructions, can narrow the evidence down to which particular animal inflicted a fatal wound, Crosby said. Just like in human crimes, the suspect found standing over a person's body isn't always the real culprit.

Originally in business of prosecuting human criminals, Crosby says his calling is an unusual niche, a second career that brought together both his law-enforcement history and an involvement in dog training.

In the end, most of the criminals in his cases are put down. Others are shot before he even arrives on the scene.

But what he learns in each case can be applied to the next.

Despite the high-profile coverage a dog mauling brings, there remains relatively little information on the phenomena and even fewer people who specialize in looking at why they happen. …

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