Authorities Say Woman Was Mauled to Death by Her Dogs

Bethany Lynn Stephens was found dead late Thursday

Bethany Lynn Stephens was found dead late Thursday

The 22-year-old was taking the two animals for a walk through woodlands near her dad's home in Goochland County, Virginia.

It was her father John Stephens who found her body two days later near her Goochland, Virginia house along with her two pets.

He told the news station: "It appeared the attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims' dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs".

WTVR reports he discovered her dogs in the woods, and he told the sheriff's office the dogs appeared to be "guarding" Bethany's body.

Agnew said: "It appears the first traumatic injury she suffered was to her was to her throat and face".

"Fighting pit bulls - ones specifically bred for that - tend to be very nice to people", Pike said.

Stephens was "a very petite 5 foot 1, 125 lbs", Agnew said, estimating that the dogs each weighed somewhere around their owners' size.

Bethany Stephens, 22, of Glen Allen, was found by her father Thursday.

From WTKR.com: "It was an absolutely grisly mauling", Sheriff Agnew said. "In my almost 40 years in law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it", he said. "I hope I never see anything like it again", he added.

Officials from the county's animal control department and sheriff's office spent at least an hour trying to tranquilise the animals, Agnew said.

One of Stephens' best friends says she does not believe the animals would have done anything to hurt her, considering that she had raised them since they were puppies. NSW, VIC, QLD, WA and SA all have strict legislation relating to the ownership of specific breeds of dog.

"Those dogs would not attack her", said Norris.

"Either something frightened them or there was an altercation between the two dogs that [Stephens] happened to be in the middle of", Paul said. She says they even slept in bed with her at night.

He also said there were no strangulation marks on Ms Stephens' body and it was not being treated as a homicide. "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".

Agnew described a bloody scene that was littered with scraps of clothing.

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