Woman mauled to death by own dogs
A WOMAN has been mauled to death by her own beloved pet pit bulls as she took them for a walk.
The killer pooches then kept police officers away from her body for more than an hour as they stood guard over her, The Sun reports.
Cops said the 22-year-old suffered horrendous head and throat injuries in the attack that happened in the US state of Virginia.
Bethany Lynn Stephens' dad called the emergency services at 8pm on Thursday after she hadn't returned from walking her dogs.
He went looking for his daughter off Manakin Road in Goochland, Virginia, where she often walked her dogs, and found the gruesome scene.
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.
Sheriff's deputies arrived and spent 60 to 90 minutes attempting to catch the pit bulls.
Bethany's body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office.
Sheriff Agnew said the Medical Examiner's initial report indicated the dogs were the killers.
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.
"The victim had defensive wounds on her hands and arms trying to keep the dogs away from her, which would be consistent with being attacked while she was still alive."
Agnew said he didn't have a history on the animals but said they were "big, strong, powerful dogs" that "you would suspect were bred for fighting, just in looking at them."
"It appears the first traumatic injury she suffered was to her was to her throat and face.
"It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death."
He has ruled out homicide, at this stage.
Agnew described a bloody scene that was littered with scraps of clothing.
The dogs are with Goochland Animal Control and the sheriff's office will demand they are destroyed.
"It was an absolutely grisly mauling," Sheriff Agnew said. "In my 40 years of law enforcement I've never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again."
This story was originally published on The Sun and is republished with permission.