Dog expert: What makes a dog turn on its owner?

21 December, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Rosa Wright
  • Bethany Lynn Stephens

Authorities in the USA state of Virginia have said a 22-year-old woman was mauled to death by her two dogs while out on a walk last week amid rumours that someone else killed her, reports have said.

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.

Agnew said it was very dark, but they were able to get the dogs confined and away from the public, that's when he said he finally saw Stephens' body and investigators were able to start collecting evidence.

Initial reports from the medical examiner's office said Stephens - whom Agnew described as petite, 5-foot-1 and 125 pounds - had a cause of death "consistent with being mauled by these dogs". "In my 40 years of law enforcement I've never seen anything quite like it".

A medical examiner determined Stephens was mauled to death by her two pit bull dogs.

In the course of trying to capture the dogs early Friday morning, and while the sheriff and deputies were talking about strategies to catch the dogs, Agnew said they turned and saw the dogs eating the rib cage of Stephens.

Reports of the 22-year-old woman's death have been met with scrutiny and skepticism about the likelihood that her beloved dogs would turn on her. Bethany's friends told WRIC that she had been getting death threats, and that they didn't believe the dogs alone were responsible for her death. When deputies found her body, they said she had suffered "severe trauma" and was being guarded by the two dogs.

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"I can tell you from what I observed personally, I think it was in the best interest of the community, of public safety, to do that", Sheriff Agnew said.

The dogs are being held at Goochland County Animal Control.

A man who used to work with Stephens at a dog training facility told CBS 6 that Stephens was very experienced working with animals, and loved her dogs.

He said Stephens' relatives have requested for the dogs to be euthanized.

'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'. Her father had gone searching for her after she went missing and was the first to discover her body.

While the investigation was considered ongoing, Sheriff Agnew said there were no strangulation marks on Stephens' body and this was not a homicide.

8News has also learned that in the month's before her death, Stephens' dogs were living in a kennel outside her dad's house. Agnew said at least one of the dogs had a significant amount of blood on its collar and neck. "I hope I never see anything like it again". Having said that, we are still following up on those. A local veterinarian told WTVR in Virginia that animals don't just normally attack their owners unprovoked. Family gave permission. Presser at 4pm. "Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans".

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