|Woman mauled to death by own dogs
A woman in America has been allegedly mauled to death by her own dogs as she walked them in the woods.
Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, was found dead in Goochland, Virginia, and law enforcement officers believe that she was killed by her own dogs.
Her father called the emergency services when his daughter had not returned from her walk and he went to look for her to the place she often walked her dogs.
He found the dogs and they seemed to be defending what he thought at first was an animal carcass. To his horror he discovered that this was his daughter.
Ms Stephens' dogs were described as 'very large brindle-coloured pitbull dogs'. She was only five foot one inches tall and only weighed a little over 100 pounds. The dogs' combined weight was twice hers and if they did attack her they would have overpowered Bethany.
County Sheriff Jim Agnew told a news conference, 'The dogs clearly, at least in our estimation in a dark night, had something to do with this. It was an absolutely grisly mauling,' Agnew told reporters. 'In my 40 years of law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it. Hope I never see anything like it again.'
Animal control officers took at least an hour to tranquillise the animals. Investigators found bloody articles of clothing at the scene.
It is not known why the dogs turned on their owner. Bethany had defensive wounds on her hands and arms which indicate she was attacked whilst she was alive. There were puncture marks on her throat and face.
Sheriff Agnew said, 'It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness and the dogs mauled her to death. There were no strangulation marks. The victim had puncture wounds in the skull, and this was not a homicide.'
Friends believe that she was not killed by her dogs and that they were actually protecting her. Barbara Norris said that she would sleep with the dogs and she told NBC, 'They'd kill you with kisses.' She claims that the kennels were broken open and that they had escaped to help Bethany and that when she was found they were protecting her body.
Sheriff Agnew said that the evidence found at the scene showed that the dogs were clearly responsible for Ms Stephens' death.
The relatives have requested that the dogs are put down.