Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Sheriff: Woman was killed by her dogs, friends suspect otherwise

Sheriff: Woman was killed by her dogs, friends suspect otherwise

A woman has been mauled to death by her own dogs, say authorities in Virginia, who described it as "absolutely grisly" attack. She also claims that the kennels had been broken open, as if the dogs had tried to escape to help Bethany, and that the dogs were aggressively guarding her body when John found her.

"It appeared the attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims' dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs", said James Agnew, the sheriff in Goochland County.

Agnew said he didn't have a history on the animals but said they were "big, strong, powerful dogs" that "you would suspect were bred for fighting, just in looking at them".

Police said Stephens grew up in Goochland but lived in Glen Allen. So her father went out to look for her at the area she frequented.

Stephens suffered fatal wounds to her face, throat and hands.

Dr. Amy Learn, a local vet (who didn't know Stephens or her dogs), told WTVR that dogs don't typically attack their owners "out of the blue", and that many questions remain unanswered in the case.

Authorities said she was found by her father, who was searching for her in an area where she was known to take the dogs out for walks. "I hope I never see anything like it again".

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"It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death".

Agnew said Stephens was small, about 5-foot-1 and 125 pounds, and estimated that the dogs may have weighed as much as her.

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

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

It's understood the Sheriff's office will push to have the dogs euthanised. "Somethings not right with this story and they are euthanizing her babies", Norris wrote on a petition. "I can't tell you if it was a blunt force or if it was a mauling, but I know those dogs didn't do it". NSW, VIC, QLD, WA and SA all have strict legislation relating to the ownership of specific breeds of dog.

This is backed up by Marcy Setter of the Pit Bull Rescue Center, who also told the publication: "There is not any breed of dog that is inherently more unsafe".

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