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Sheriff releases grisly details after woman fatally attacked by her own dogs

21 December 2017

After a Virginia woman was found dead in the woods last week, apparently mauled to death by her own dogs, a friend and a veterinarian are urging police to find out whether there is more to the story.

Bethany Lynn Stephens' father called 911 Thursday, at about 8:18 p.m., when he went looking for his daughter off Manakin Road in Goochland, where she often walked her dogs.

She said that pit bulls are actually very sweet and are good family dogs when given what they need.

Agnew described the scene as one of the most grisly he has seen in his 40 years of law enforcement.

Police said that the medical examiner found no evidence of a larger animal causing Stephens' death, that bite wounds "didn't puncture her skull", and that "scratch marks [were more] consistent with a smaller animal than something like a bear". She had defensive wounds on her hands and arms, and it appears that she was alive when the animals attacked. It took officials about an hour to capture the dogs, reports say.

However, Stephens' best friend, Barbara Norris, claims the dogs would never turn on their owner.

But Agnew also said witnesses had given information about Stephens that supported the sheriff's conclusion.

The two dogs are now being held at the Goochland Animal Control Center, where they are scheduled to be euthanized.

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Agnew said investigators still do not know why the animals turned on Stephens.

After talking with the family, Agnew said, "Let me cut right to the chase, the most important detail that we did not release because we were anxious about the well-being of the family is that in the course of trying to capture the dogs early Friday morning. we turned and looked ..."

'I don't want to disparage any particular breed but if you do the research you will find that many of them are perpetuated by pit bulls'.

"I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs observed, the dogs eating the rib cage on the body", Agnew was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

Stephens' body was then taken to a medical examiner's office, where the gruesome details of the attack came to light.

8News has also learned that in the month's before her death, Stephens' dogs were living in a kennel outside her dad's house.

Stephens' family agreed to let the sheriff reveal the new details in hopes that everyone - including those who speculate she was killed another way - would understand what happened. They have since been put down with the family's permission. "We are still doing forensic tests". "The injuries were very severe", Agnew said, as reported by Yahoo News. "Dogs don't typically just out of the blue attack their owners, so there is typically some kind of provocation". "Once a dog tastes human flesh, it's no longer safe to have that dog around humans".

The toxicology reports on Stephens should be back in 90 days.

Sheriff releases grisly details after woman fatally attacked by her own dogs