Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Woman 'mauled to death by own dogs' in grisly attack in US

Woman mauled to death by own pit bulls while taking them out for a walk Bethany Lynn Stephens was horrifically mauled to death by her own dogs
Erik Tate | 18 December, 2017, 00:54

Investigators in Goochland, Virginia, a rural community about 30 miles outside of Richmond, say the petite, 5-foot-1 young woman, who weighed a little more than 100 pounds, was mauled to death by her dogs, which had a combined weight of about twice hers, while out on a walk earlier this week.

KTLA reports that Bethany Lynn Stephens of Goochland, Virginia, had been gone for a day since she left to walk her dogs, so her father went out in search of her.

"There were various articles of clothing, underclothing scattered about the area not far from the body and torn into small pieces, there were patches of blood", Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew shared from the preliminary report.

Agnew said deputies spent hours trying to wrangle the dogs.

He reportedly found the dogs, described by police as "big, strong and powerful", guarding his daughter's body. She says they even slept in bed with her at night.

Police believe that the dogs may have been bred to fight. And while Norris said she did not know the details of Stephens' death, "I know those dogs didn't do it".

Henrico County Animal Control was called for assistance and provided tranquilizers to subdue the dogs.

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The veterinarian's thoughts were echoed by a certified dog trainer as well, who suggested that "to go from a lovable no-bite history dog to one that is causing harm would be fairly rare".

"A lot of people are saying [the dogs] wouldn't guard if they killed, but the reality is if it's a resource, they may guard that as their food source or their toy the same way that a dog might guard a bone on a blanket", Paul explained.

Stephens was being "for lack of a better term - guarded by by two very large brindle-colored pit bull dogs, who were very reluctant to be caught", Agnew said. "Were there stray dogs, coyotes [or] something else in the woods?"

Asked about Norris' comments Saturday, Agnew said the evidence found at the scene, including the defensive wounds, clearly showed that the dogs were responsible for Stephens' death.

"It appeared the attack was a violent attack", Sheriff Agnew told WTVR, citing an initial Medical Examiner's report. "I hope I never see anything like it again", Agnew said.

Time will tell if authorities come to the conclusion that somehow Bethany's dogs were protecting her as her friend Barbara suggests.

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