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Woman mauled to death by her own pit bull dogs

18 December, 2017, 00:31 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Bethany Stephens

Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, had taken her two pet pit bulls for a walk through the woods in Goochland, Virginia last week when, for reasons unknown, the animals turned on her.

Bethany Lynn Stephens' dad called the emergency services at 8pm on Thursday after she hadn't returned from walking her dogs.

Friends said Ms Stephens had received death threats before the tragedy, which was another reason why they questioned whether the dogs were to blame, WRIC reported.

While Bethany was found with defensive wounds on her hands and arms, she also had puncture wounds to the skull and had wounds on her throat throat and face. Agnew says it took deputies hours to wrangle the dogs, which he estimated weighed as much as Stephens.

"The female had suffered severe trauma and was being guarded, for lack of a better word, by two very large, brindle colored pitbull dogs who were very reluctant to be caught", said Sheriff Jim Agnew.

The victim's cause of death was "consistent with being mauled by these dogs", according to Goochland County sheriff James Agnew who described her as petite and 5ft 1in tall.

Stephens was 5-feet-1 and 125 pounds, weighing roughly the same amount as her dogs.

"It was an absolutely grisly mauling", Sheriff Agnew said. "I hope I never see anything like it again".

The Goochland County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the incident.

The dogs are now held at Goochland Animal Control and the Sheriff's Office said it is seeking to have them both euthanized.

It's understood the Sheriff's office will push to have the dogs euthanised.

Janet Velenovsky, an animal behavior consultant in Montpelier, said, "If she was as small as I read, she could be knocked down and then before you know it the redirection happens on her instead of whatever they were trying to get to". He said one of her friends told an investigator the dogs had been adopted, she thought, through a group that rescues former fighting dogs.

"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.

There were no strangulation marks identified on the body, and although the investigation is still active, Agnew has ruled out homicide.



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