A Virginia woman was allegedly mauled and killed by her two dogs while she had been out in the woods walking this week. Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, was found dead, in what has been described as a “grisly” scene, on Thursday evening – two days after she was last seen taking her two bully breed dogs for a walk in her Goochland neighborhood.
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, Bethany’s father found her body being guarded by the “very large, brindle-colored pit bull dogs.” Goochland County Sheriff James L. Agnew, stated in his nearly 40 years in law enforcement, he had never seen anything quite like this. At the scene, police gathered shredded pieces of clothing covered with blood for evidence.
An initial medical examiner report indicated the 5-foot-one-inch Bethany who weighed 125 pounds, had defensive wounds on both her hands and arms. Her wounds also included puncture wounds in her skull which were consistent with having been mauled.
“The first traumatic injury to her was to her throat and face,” stated Sheriff Agnew. “It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death.”
Many animal behaviorists, friends of Bethany and veterinarians believe there is much more to this story. A family friend, Barbara Norris told CBS6News, that she did not believe the dogs would kill Bethany; both dogs slept with her in bed every night.
“Those dogs would not attack her,” Barbara said. “They’d kill you with kisses.”
Norris also stated the dogs’ kennels appeared to have been broken open, as if the dogs had escaped to help their owner. In addition a Carytown veterinarian said it would have been high unusual for a dog to attack its owner, and there are a lot of questions that should be answered. A man who had worked with Bethany at a dog training facility, stated the woman was a very experienced dog handler and there was no way anyone could imagine the woman’s dog named Tonk would ever hurt her.
Dr. Amy Learn, a veterinarian who did not know Bethany nor the dogs, also finds it very strange for dogs to overtly attack their owner unless there was some kind of provocation leading to the dogs’ aggression which caused fear.
“Was there somebody else there? Were they being attacked by somebody? Were they trying to defend themselves and their owner from somebody else, from a wild animal? Was it actually something else that attacked the owner? Were there stray dogs, coyotes [or] something else in the woods?” Learn asked during the Cbs6News interview.
Dogs can’t talk, and we may never know the real story why Bethany died and her dogs killed shortly afterwards. What do you think?
Both dogs are now in the custody of animal control and are likely to be euthanized.
(Photos of owner mauled and killed by dogs via Facebook)
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