Oops, we totally missed this in our pit bull story

(HEADLINE HEALTH) Our coverage of the Kentucky couple attacked by their neighbor’s dogs on Christmas Eve overlooked this prior story of a Virginia woman who, according to ‘rumors’ and controversial reports, was killed by her own dogs on December 14. We apologize for the oversight.

No one could believe two dogs killed their adoring owner. So the sheriff revealed more …

(Kristine Phillips, Washington Post) Rumors swirled around the death of Bethany Lynn Stephens, a young woman from rural Virginia who, authorities said, was mauled to death by her dogs while out on a walk last week.

The sheriff described the dogs who killed Bethany Lynn Stephens as “very large brindle-colored pit bulls.” Based on the victim’s Facebook images and testimony from family friends, they were her own dogs. 

Many suspected that someone else killed her and doubted that the dogs were responsible.

Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew said the misinformation, particularly on social media, was widespread and has complicated the investigation.

‘I observed the dogs eating the rib cage on the body’

So he decided to disclose one gruesome detail that he had been reluctant to divulge out of concern for Stephens’s family — in hopes of reassuring the public that there isn’t a killer on the loose.

Shortly after officers found Stephens’s body, guarded by her two dogs, they began talking about how to catch the animals. When they turned back around, they saw that the dogs had walked over to the body.

“I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs observed,” Agnew said, then paused before continuing, “the dogs eating the rib cage on the body.”

A friend of Stephens was later able to capture the dogs, the sheriff said.

Agnew held a news conference four days after Stephens’s father found her in a wooded area about a half-mile from a main road.

Authorities said the 22-year-old had been gone for about a day since leaving to walk her dogs, so her father went out to look for her in the area she frequented. There, he found the canines, guarding what he first thought was an animal carcass.

“Ms. Stephens was terribly, terribly injured, but it was very apparent to us that she had been dead for quite some time,” Agnew told reporters, adding later that the damage to her body “was so extensive that there was nothing left to compare bite marks to.” Read the full story at Washington Post

Original story posted on Headline Health 12/26/2017 … 

Time to ban pit bulls? Dogs kill woman on Christmas Eve

Do pit bulls qualify as ‘man’s best friend’? Many want them banned as more people are killed and maimed. 

A 66-year-old Kentucky woman was killed by her own pit bulls on Christmas Eve. Her seriously injured husband shot and killed one of the beasts; the other ran off and was reported to be at large. Police warned residents not to approach it. 

(HEADLINE HEALTH) The latest fatal dog attack occurred on Christmas Eve in Bell County, Kentucky, where a woman was killed and her husband seriously injured after being viciously attacked by their neighbor’s pit bulls.

According to Fox News:

“A woman was killed and her husband seriously injured after a vicious mauling by two pit bulls on Christmas Eve in a Kentucky coal town.

“Two Bell County deputies responded to the scene Sunday morning in Arjay and discovered the woman and her husband ‘had been savagely attacked’ by two pit bulls, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.

“Investigators said the husband managed to shoot the dogs afterwards, killing one of them.”

Dogs have lived among us for millennia – as working dogs (border collies), as hunting dogs (hounds and retrievers), as beasts of burden (sled dogs), as guardians (dobermans), as service dogs (German shepherds), and as companions (chihuahuas, Pomeranians, ‘pound puppies,’ and almost any breed or crossbreed you can name).


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Human traditions, common sense, and the individual characteristics of each dog breed have generally assured that the correct type of dog is placed into a given situation.

A St. Bernard, for example, is not the first choice for a lap dog, and shih tzu is probably not going to be found working in a towing company’s impound lot.

But in the eyes of many, common sense has gone out the window with the breed known as pit bulls. With wide jaws, massive neck muscles, and killer instincts, these dogs are best suited as guardians, the purpose the breed was developed for.

However, the breed has become massively popular as a house dog, living in close proximity to family members, including children and infants.

Reports of family members being killed by their own pit bulls are high and may be rising, probably because the population of pit bulls keeps rising.

Pit bulls are among the breeds least likely to be spayed and neutered, and are often bred for profit, either to be sold as pets or used as fighting dogs.

Pit bulls are by far the most euthanized breed. Shelters have found it is extraordinarily difficult to find people who want to adopt them – so much so that they typically will not even use the term pit bull in their descriptions of the animals.

Many landlords, homeowners associations, and homeowners insurance companies ban pit bulls.

And more and more people are asking, should cities and states consider banning pit bulls altogether?

Dogs clearly have a positive impact on our lives. A dog encourages its owner to get daily exercise and provides a companion to a single person. Seeing eye dogs and specially trained therapy dogs improve daily living for many.

But many question whether pit bulls should permitted in residential areas. It’s already prohibited to own many types of animals in various jurisdictions; should pit bulls be added to the banned list? What is the difference, for example, between owning a dog with a taste for blood and a cobra?

Post your thoughts in the comments section below. Also of interest: How Dogs Teach Us To Stop Worrying And Just Be Happy