law_book_and_gavel_12039Dr. Suzanne Hetts and Dr. Daniel Estep have been qualified as experts in animal behavior throughout Colorado and a number of other states.  They’ve consulted with attorneys in well over 60 serious dog bite cases and several cat bite cases.  Dr. Hetts has consulted in five fatal dog attack cases, and Dr. Estep was the consultant in three fatal case and in several horse related injury cases.  We are familiar with animal ordinances and animal control services, having provided the animal behavior content for the National Animal Control Association’s Level I Academy for over 15 years (these academies were reorganized in 2015).


What Dr. Hetts and Dr. Estep Do


  • We provide an objective analysis about the behavior of the animal based on scientific information. We base our opinions on the facts of the case and scientific knowledge about animal behavior.  We’ve been retained by the court, as well as by attorneys for the defense and prosecution.
  • Provide help in formulating questions to be asked of witnesses and owners of animals about the behavior of the animal in question.
  • Advise attorneys regarding sources of information about the behavior of the animal in question.
  • Provide expert witness testimony about the behavioral tendencies and motivations for the behavior of specific animals.
  • Perform a behavioral evaluation or assessment of the animal in question.
  • Formulate an opinion about the likelihood or potential for aggression from the animal in question, and whether or not the owners knew or should have known about the animal’s nature and whether or not an injury was foreseeable.

What We Cannot Do

Drs. Hetts and Estep cannot make statements or testify that any specific breed of dog or cat is inherently dangerous, vicious or aggressive.

Our Education Credentials

Dr. Hetts has a PhD in Zoology with a specialization in animal behavior from Colorado State University.

Dr. Estep has a PhD in Psychology with a specialization in animal behavior from The University of Florida.

Both are certified by the Animal Behavior Society as Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAAB) (Dr. Hetts is a CAAB Emeritus) and have been well published in scholarly journals, books and professional articles.

Both Dr. Hetts and Dr. Estep have extensive experience evaluating the behavior of dogs, cats and certain other species of animals. Dr. Estep was on the team of CAABs coordinated by the ASPCA who evaluated the dogs in the Michael Vick case.  They’ve collaborated with Animal Care Technologies, Inc. to produce a video training program on Dog Bite Prevention for Home Service Workers, and a Canine Behavior program for shelter staff and for the veterinary practice.


Statement of Legal Fees in 2023

We charge $395/hour for time spent in activities relevant to the case which includes but is not limited to reviewing reports, and other materials, performing evaluations, researching the scientific literature, conducting interviews, or meeting with clients or attorneys. If deposed, we charge $650/hour. If called to testify in court, we charge $750/hour for time spent testifying and $350/hour for time spent waiting to testify. Travel time is charged at $150/hour with a per day maximum of $1000 (not including services rendered). Expenses are charged as they are incurred.

Contact Us

Email us now at Info(at) for more information (use the @ symbol for at.  We avoid putting it on this page in order to prevent spam emails from bots.

Or call our office at 303-932-9095.