Woman 'mauled to death by own dogs' in grisly attack in US

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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.

KTLA reports that Bethany Lynn Stephens of Goochland, Virginia, had been gone for a day since she left to walk her dogs, so her father went out in search of her.

The Sheriff says it appears the young woman had plenty of defensive wounds, meaning she desperately tried to fend off the dogs before her death.

The medical examiner's office said Bethany Stephens had a cause of death "consistent with being mauled by these dogs".

Meanwhile, one of Ms Stephens' best friends said she did not believe the animals would have hurt her, as she had raised them since they were puppies.

Agnew said that while he did not know the dogs' background, "they would be dogs that you would suspect would be bred for fighting".

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He said it appeared to be a "violent attack initiated by the victim's dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs". And while Norris said she did not know the details of Stephens' death, "I know those dogs didn't do it".

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. Agnew said they were seeking to have the animals euthanized. "When we looked at the kennels, they looked like they had been broken open and went to go help her". If this is truly the case, how could these loving pit bulls have attacked their owner so viciously?

Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew says her body was being guarded by two very large pit bulls. "You have specific sub-populations that have been used over time in the illegal pursuit of dogfighting, but they really can't be held up as the standard for all pit bulls in America".

"In my 40 years of law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it. Hope I'd never see anything like it again", said Sheriff Agnew at a press conference Friday, according to The Post. He estimated that each dog weighed about as much as Stephens - she was 5-foot-1 and weighed 125 pounds.

There's no suspicion of homicide and the authorities are looking to pursue having the pets put down.

"That's not something I would normally see", she said.

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