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22-year-old Woman Killed After An Attack By Her Dog
18 December 2017, 12:30 | Tara Lloyd
Experts said the killing of a young woman by her dogs in rural Goochland County last week may have resulted from misdirected aggression and unlikely had anything to do with them being pit bulls.
According to police, the woman's father reported her missing and called 911 saying he hadn't seen his daughter in nearly two days.
Reports from the medical examiner's office said Stephens' cause of death was "consistent with being mauled by these dogs", the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
It took the sheriff's deputies more than an hour to wrangle the dogs, which were said to weigh about as much as Stephens did. "They were big, strong, powerful dogs", Sheriff Agnew said.
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Her father made the horrifying discovery after he found the dogs were aggressively "guarding" his daughter's body, according to County Sheriff James L Agnew, Virginia media reported.
Sheriff Agnew said a post-mortem examination found her first traumatic injury was to her throat and face. "Hope I never see anything like it again".
Police reportedly spent up to 90 minutes trying to catch the dogs, which are now with Goochland Animal Control.
There's no suspicion of homicide and the authorities are looking to pursue having the pets put down. She says they even slept in bed with her at night.
Dr. Amy Learn, a local vet (who didn't know Stephens or her dogs), told WTVR that dogs don't typically attack their owners "out of the blue", and that many questions remain unanswered in the case.
Agnew said it is not clear why the dogs attacked Stephens. Meanwhile, one of the Stephens' best friends said she does not believe the animals would have done anything to hurt her, considering that she had raised them since they were puppies.
But Paul explained, "A lot of people are saying [the dogs] wouldn't guard if they killed, but the reality is if it's a resource, they may guard that as their food source or their toy the same way that a dog might guard a bone on a blanket". The bloody scene was littered with her shredded clothing, and police bagged 60 items of evidence.
The pair of pit bulls, which are now being held at Goochland Animal Control, were found guarding Stephen's body in the woods, according to investigation reports.
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