News

Woman mauled to death by her own pit bull dogs

The woman's body was discovered after she didn't return home from walking her pets.

In a grisly find, a 22-year-old woman has been killed after apparently being mauled to death by her own dogs, according to local news outlets.

Police say the body of Bethany Lynn Stephens was found in bushland in Goochland, Virginia on Thursday (Dec. 14) with wounds on her hands, arms, throat and face consistent with a dog mauling, WTVR reports.

It's believed her father made the discovery in a wooded area two days after Bethany didn't come home from walking her beloved pit bull dogs. The dogs appeared to be guarding over the body when Mr Stephens approached.

"It was an absolutely grisly mauling ," Sheriff James Agnew told WTVR. "In my 40 years of law enforcement I've never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again."

Because of the defensive wounds on her arms police believe that the attack began while Bethany was alive and proved fatal when she suffered trauma to the throat.

"It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death," Sheriff Agnew said of the Medical Examiner's initial report indications.

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

While this happened in America, debate about the safety issues relating to pit bull terriers have raged in Australia, especially after incidents of an attack.

In 2011 four-year-old Ayen Chol was killed by a neighbour's pit bull-mastiff cross after it walked into her Melbourne home and fatally mauled her in her family's living room. In response former Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu said a "dob in a dangerous dog" hotline would be set up to uncover the owners of the state's estimated 10,000 unregistered dangerous dogs.

Ayen Chol, 4, was killed by a pit bull that wandered into her home.
Ayen Chol, 4, was killed by a pit bull that wandered into her home.

Pit bull dogs have been banned from importation into Australia for over 15 years, but there is a remnant population built up from dogs brought in before the ban, states the Tasmanian government website. NSW, VIC, QLD, WA and SA all have strict legislation relating to the ownership of specific breeds of dog.