22-year-old Woman Killed After An Attack By Her Dog


Experts said the killing of a young woman by her dogs in rural Goochland County last week may have resulted from misdirected aggression and unlikely had anything to do with them being pit bulls.

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

"It appeared the attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims' dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs", James Agnew, the local sheriff in Goochland County, told Fox2.

Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, was found mauled to death two days after having taken her dogs out for a walk. Asked if the dogs were friendly to her, Agnew said, "I don't know the answer to that".

Agnew said Stephens was a petite 5-foot-1, no match for her burly 100-125 pound dogs. Meanwhile, one of the Stephens' best friends said she does not believe the animals would have done anything to hurt her, considering that she had raised them since they were puppies. "Those dogs would not attack her", Barbara Norris told NBC 12. 'They'd kill you with kisses'.

The animals, which were later tranquilised, are being held at Goochland County animal control and authorities want to put the canines down.

Valerie Paul, a certified master trainer at Impawsible Pups in Richmond, Virginia said it's unusual for dogs to attack their owners out of nowhere.

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

"That's not something I would normally see", said Valerie Paul, the master dog trainer from Richmond, adding that it's hard to determine what exactly happened without knowing Stephens' dogs.

It's believed that the dogs had been bred for fighting.

Deputies spent eight hours collecting more than 60 pieces of evidence, Agnew said.

According to the medical examiner's office, the 22-year-old had defensive wounds on her hands and arms, which indicated that she was attacked while still alive.

Norris said that the dogs' kennels appeared to have been broken open, as if the dogs had escaped to help Stephens.

The pair of pit bulls, which are now being held at Goochland Animal Control, were found guarding Stephen's body in the woods, according to investigation reports.