Bethany Lynn Stephens was mauled to death by her pit bulls, but what provoked the dogs to attack her? They were reportedly being neglected ahead of her death.
Four days after the body of Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, was found, officials said they were almost certain she was mauled to death by her pit bulls — which is actually pretty odd. “Dogs don’t typically just out of the blue attack their owners, so there is typically some kind of provocation,” Dr. Amy Learn, a veterinarian at Cary Street Veterinary Hospital, told WTVR. People who knew Bethany said the dogs were socialized, passive, and had a significant bond with her. A man who used to work with the Virginia woman at a dog training facility also said she loved her dogs and was very experienced working with animals. So what exactly provoked the dogs to kill Bethany?
“[The dogs were a] little bit neglected towards the end of this,” Sergeant Mike Blackwood said about the days leading up to Bethany’s death. He added that the woman left her pets with her father, and that her dad “wasn’t taking care of them — it wasn’t his responsibility.” The dogs, who typically lived indoors, were moved to an outside kennel where they stayed “in the cold.” The sergeant added that when Bethany was only going home maybe five times a week, so the dogs became more isolated and didn’t have any contact with other living things outside the pack of pups.
But while isolation and neglect could’ve been a major factor, Goochland, Virginia County Sheriff James Agnew also made a note that there isn’t “any way definitively that we can say what caused the attack.” What they do know however is that foul play wasn’t involved, despite friends claiming there was no way the dogs could’ve been responsible. The animals have since been captured, and were put down on Dec. 16 after officials received permission from Bethany’s family. “What I observed personally, it was in the community’s best interest,” Agnew said. “Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans.”
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