VA - Bethany Stephens, 21, mauled to death by her 2 dogs, Dec 2017

flourish

Now With 30% More Emo
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
6,733
If it is against TOS, then it isn't up to a poster to call out another poster.

If you have an issue with any post(s), then flag it for a Mod to check out. Taking issue with a post can lead to unpleasantness in a forum and cause more issues than letting it go. To flag, click the triangle with an ! in the middle of it.
On Tapatalk, click the post so it turns blue then click the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and choose "report."
 

Jax49

Florida Native
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Messages
10,041
Reaction score
29,977
I'm really tired and have been sick but I swear to god that I read that article three times and it doesn't say anywhere in it what kind of breed killed the little one????

"We called corporate," Miller said. "They did not reach out to us, and I was very angry about that. Why would you want to bring a pit bull past a small dog who's really just bait? He was bait."

Owner of small dog said it was a pit.

http://wtvr.com/2017/11/06/he-was-just-bait-family-furious-after-dog-mauled-to-death-at-petsmart/
 

Bohemian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
10,332
Reaction score
16,347
I wonder if Bethany offered her dogs some food treats whilst she was out walking with them on that fateful day?

if the hadn’t been fed adequately in the days preceding her visit, food aggression may be a reason for them to attack each other and/or Bethany.
 

JaneEyre

Kindness matters - always
Joined
Jul 24, 2015
Messages
7,069
Reaction score
41,571
Like I said, it was the perfect storm.

But*one thing is certain: The attack did not happen out of the blue.

“I don’t think they were walking in the woods and they eyed each other and said, ‘Now is the time to attack her,’ ” said Liz Stelow, a clinician at the veterinary school at the University of California at Davis.

A stimulus that triggered an aggressive reaction, a sudden change in the dogs’ home life, behavioral changes that they might have been going through as they matured, or a combination of all of these, could have been contributing factors, experts say. For something as terrible as Stephens’s death to happen, there needs to be “a sort of perfect storm of events,” said Marjie Alonso, executive director of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, though what those events were remains a mystery.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...say-but-why/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.931b83f53511

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

JaneEyre

Kindness matters - always
Joined
Jul 24, 2015
Messages
7,069
Reaction score
41,571
It seems dog attacks don’t ‘come out of the blue’ — there’s a stimulus and a response.

An extreme case:

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSTRE78640W20110907
Yeah, I've met people who believed it was fine to go dump a bag of dog food on a property once a week to last the dogs all week. Always one or both would not get enough and they would have to fend off other critters as well. I was always sweet as pie until I got the relinquishment papers signed and the dog in my hands before I lit into them. Some of these dogs went feral by the time I got them and were often seriously underweight. One was too aggressive to catch or handle. One remained feral for the rest of her life but did live in my house, just following whatever my other dogs did. But there was permanent damage to her soul.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

amauet1

Active Member
Joined
May 29, 2016
Messages
779
Reaction score
202
I wonder what the situation is with death threats? That is interesting. Someone who had an issue with her enough to give her death threats could have followed her and had their own dogs go after her. The dogs could have fought with each other after they attacked her. Hopefully they do DNA to make sure it was those dogs that attacked her.

I certainly believe her dogs most likely attacked her though. I'm a dog trainer and specialized in rehabbing aggression for over 15 years of my 28 years training dogs. I finally stopped working with bully breeds. After seeing time and time again horrific bite wounds and barely provoked aggression. All dogs can be aggressive, it is perfectly normal in the dog world, but of course unacceptable in the domesticated pet world. So we have to work with a dog's nature to make sure they don't get pushed to the points where they feel they have to bite.

Honor posturing and growling as those are a dog's first communication that they are uncomfortable. Take note then work on the stimulus's that created them being uncomfortable so they don't have to go into a fear mode.

Anyway I do believe the theory that walking in the dark, if she fell, the dogs could have gotten over stimulated and attacked her. The pack mentality is amazing how it gives dogs so much more confidence if there is two or more of them. Or the theory that the two dogs had a scuffle and she got in the midst of it.

Also another theory is they encountered another dog(s). and those dogs started fighting and she tried to break them up.

With LE saying that they might have been raised to fight, maybe because of the wounds. A dog that bites out of fear, or their first time with bite hands or legs....a dog going for the throat has a mission in mind. Once they know the adrenal rush of killing or taste of blood, they can get very adept in their skill. Like the Preso that killed Diane in SF. That dog was allowed to kill farm animals etc, so was adept at his skill.

I had a coyote jump into my backyard in AZ and attack a 5 month old puppy, I walked in the house with my Saint Bernard and the puppy following, went to answer the phone. Heard a blood curdling scream and ran out and was able to kick the coyote in the stomach he dropped the puppy and scurried over the fence. There were just two puncture wounds on the puppy on his neck, had the coyote had a second more it could have bite down and broken the puppy's neck. Thank goodness I was able to be there. The puppy survived fine with little physical damage from the bite.

I watched a german shepard (my brothers dog) catch a groundhog once. The dog got it by the throat and broke it's neck and kept on breaking it's bones. I thought I read somewhere that pit-bulls get their prey by the neck also, but have very powerful jaws and lock down on the prey. It is very hard to get them off. I didn't interfer with the german shepard.
 

jamicat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,621
Reaction score
3,873
An acquaintance with two large dogs stopped letting them loose in the woods after she caught them in the process of eating a dead animal. When she tried to get them away from the carcass, they reacted aggressively, and though they backed down when she asserted herself, she felt very uncomfortable. She had also experienced fear when they disappeared for longer than she was comfortable, and also when she encountered another hiker/walker with a smaller dog. She was not confident of the control she could wield on the two loose dogs if they chose to get rough with the dogs

It was with great reluctance and sadness, she ceased those walks and freedom romps for the dogs.

I am wondering if Bethany came across her dogs eating or about to eat something she deemed acceptable, tried to stop them and that caused one of them to turn on her, then was joined by the other
 

jamicat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,621
Reaction score
3,873
The police statements have some clear mistakes in them. The dogs were not 100-120 lbs as originally reported. They were smaller than that. Nor was there any evidence that they were bred for fighting. Both shelter pups, from same litter. Bethany had adopted one at 8 weeks from the shelter. She got the other one later, and no info given as to how much later. She reportedly rescued that one from an sbusive situation, reuniting him with his littermate

Also, the comment of a dog getting a taste of human flesh making them unsafe ever to be around humans again is not any proven fact. I can attest to dogs getting a taste or experience in killing, even eating chickens or other creatures and learning to peacefully coexist with them after being trained to do so. I know many dogs with strong prey drive who will not have it come in play among family pets or livestock.

The cop releasing the info that the dogs were feeding on Bethany’s body also is not definite proof that they killed her. It just meant they were eating her body after she was dead. They could have been running loose and romping the woods, and come back to her dead body after something else killed her. Hopefully, a competent autopsy is done. I don’t doubt the dogs attached her body—the evidence is apparently right there but did they do so while she was alive or afterwards?

I suspect the dogs were hungry. Visiting them “on average”, 5 days a week is not enough. Many Dogs are ravenous for their food every day. And if Bethany had not fed them before their walk, no telling when they last ate.

The dogs were not “a little bit neglected” being caged most all day, sometimes days at s time without regular food especially in this cold weather and after they were used to be house dogs. This was abuse.
 

bears10

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
20,653
An acquaintance with two large dogs stopped letting them loose in the woods after she caught them in the process of eating a dead animal. When she tried to get them away from the carcass, they reacted aggressively, and though they backed down when she asserted herself, she felt very uncomfortable. She had also experienced fear when they disappeared for longer than she was comfortable, and also when she encountered another hiker/walker with a smaller dog. She was not confident of the control she could wield on the two loose dogs if they chose to get rough with the dogs

It was with great reluctance and sadness, she ceased those walks and freedom romps for the dogs.

I am wondering if Bethany came across her dogs eating or about to eat something she deemed acceptable, tried to stop them and that caused one of them to turn on her, then was joined by the other

It amazes me that people let their dogs loose on public property, especially big dogs. If I was the stranger your friend encountered, I’d be literally terrified if I ran into two large dogs running loose in the woods. Unless those woods Are private property and said stranger was trespassing, it is incredibly negligent to let dogs run around without leashes IMO


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Knox

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
24,180
Reaction score
135,902
Graphic description of the pictures of the body shown to reporters in this article.

http://wtvr.com/2017/12/19/longtime...isly-dog-mauling-they-were-very-passive-dogs/



This one mentions that she wasn't discovered until the next day when friends showed up looking for her at Dad's house.

http://fox6now.com/2017/12/19/dogs-went-through-drastic-lifestyle-changes-before-mauling-owner/

From article:
"The weather changed, and the dogs lived out "in the cold."

Blackwood said that with Stephens coming home maybe five times a week, the dogs became more isolated and only had contact with each other.

They were not fed daily.

[...]


“The breed in and of itself is a high-energy breed. They like to have a lot of structure and a lot of exercise, so by keeping them in a pen, alone, under-socialized, away from people – that energy is just building up and building up and building up and that’s when you start to see dogs fighting more regularly. That’s when you start to see more negative scenarios," Paul said. [Certified master dog trainer Valerie Paul did not know Stephens, Pac-Man, or Tonka, but has testified in multiple court cases and has been deemed an expert by the court system. She offered WTVR some potential answers as to how and why the dogs allegedly went from adoring their owner to feeding on her body.]"

My thoughts: Is the Dad incapacitated in some way? How is it not his responsibility to feed the dogs the other two days when the owner, his daughter, is not able to feed them while he is sheltering them on the property? But I guess being a cruddy pet sitter and trying to do your daughter a favor during a transition in her life isn't a crime. I'm sure he has enough guilt and has paid an unimaginable price. But that's why I question if he is incapacitated in some way. Or maybe he just worked a lot and feared dogs.


BBM- I understand what you are saying, I couldn't not feed an animal that was on my property. However, as you pointed out, we don't know the details of the situation with her Father. So I feel it's unfair to judge him, I mean he discovered his daughter's body in an unimaginable, horrific, tragic situation. I can't imagine how he is dealing with Bethany's death right now. Poor man, my thoughts are with him.
 

GeorgiaSuzy

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
47
Reaction score
3
I just believe that LE came to their conclusion much too quickly. I believe it is possible that their conclusion is correct, but that for public safety reasons, they should have been more diligent.

Here's what I think they should have done. They should have brought in a couple of dog behavioralists and at least one wildlife expert to assess the scene. I would have also wanted a scent dog brought in to see if a coyote or another human had been present.

The reason is because we are seeing more and more coyote attacks in my area, right in cities. They recently followed a woman walking her two dogs and she just barely got away. They have been attacking dogs out in their yards to potty before bed at night, and in some cases killing them. Then we saw the case where a bobcat actually ran at a person and attacked them right in town. Another person got the bobcat off the other person, but got attacked. The video was sickening - it would not let go. Turned out that it was rabid.

My point is that there could be a public safety issue in the area. If a wild animal attacked either her or her dogs, she could have ended up getting torn up in the situation. Dogs and cats both sometimes do this thing called redirected aggression, where they perceive a threat they are concentrating on, and another animal or a human comes near and they automatically react and bite. I've seen this A LOT. Anyway, it's possible that there is a very bold wild animal in the area, or a rabid one.

Second thing about this that bothers me is that she had threats from an ex who also had dogs. I can think of a few scenarios involving this person and his dogs where her dogs were not responsible for killing her, but ended up as the "person" standing over the dead body holding a knife they just picked up in shock (think old mystery movies here). Someone could be getting away with murder quite literally here.

The dogs were neutered, taken to doggie daycare at times, and she was familiar with something as progressive as using a gentle leader (which some people have wrongly identified as a muzzle in pictures of Tonk) as opposed to the more barbaric use of choke and prong collars to train. The use of a gentle leader suggests she didn't even believe in jerking on the leash to control them, which many trainers still do. All of this information suggests these dogs were well cared for and that she was knowledgeable, gentle, and progressive in her training methods. However, I do know that even experts can screw up and reach into a dog scuffle in the heat of the moment and end up getting seriously injured due to redirected aggression.

I am neither a pit bull apologist nor anti-bully breed. I believe in approaching all situations based on the facts surrounding the individual dog. And I will say that Gitana is onto something regarding the dog attack stats in post 103. The dogs I had to put down for aggression had backgrounds like she described.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Well, you said earlier that you rescue pits, and you promote that Any breed of dog can kill someone, yet facts show it's not ANY breed, it's mainly pits. That kinda makes you a pit bull advocate, doesn't it? Genetically they're bred to attack without a warning growl or bark to take down a thousand pound bull or bear, with jaws to clamp & crush, and never give up the fight. Some breeds specialize in pointing, retrieving, or herding. Pits and bulldog types specialize in killing. Read the stories on dogbites.org and you'll see it's got nothing to do with nurture and everything to do with nature.

I've been bit by ankle biters on the hand (my fault), and by a bulldog on the face (when I was a kid - not my fault). The bulldog was much worse. And of course, ANY ANIMAL can bite. I've been bitten by iguanas and horses, too... but they don't continue to attack and attack until you're scalped or your face is eaten off or your throat is crushed and all your clothes are ripped off and strewn around like a bloody horror movie. It's pits that do that.
 

GeorgiaSuzy

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
47
Reaction score
3
Article also states:
Nothing that said domestic violence. Nothing that said she was stabbed. Nothing that said she was shot. No bones, no injuries to the throat area . . . There was no particular bleeding inside the esophagus, which would’ve been conducive with choking her out. None of that,” Whitlock told reporters.
There is also no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted, authorities said.

This is awful but true. I got really upset when I began reading this thread and saw some people pushing a murder theory and ignoring the facts. Everything isn't a conspiracy. Often the simplest answer is the correct one. This poor girl was attacked and killed by her own beloved pets. The emotional pain was only second to the physical pain. I pray for her father, family, friends, first responders and investigators. And no one, NO ONE, should blame this girl's poor father for the behavior of these dogs.
 

Knox

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
24,180
Reaction score
135,902
Well, you said earlier that you rescue pits, and you promote that Any breed of dog can kill someone, yet facts show it's not ANY breed, it's mainly pits. That kinda makes you a pit bull advocate, doesn't it? Genetically they're bred to attack without a warning growl or bark to take down a thousand pound bull or bear, with jaws to clamp & crush, and never give up the fight. Some breeds specialize in pointing, retrieving, or herding. Pits and bulldog types specialize in killing. Read the stories on dogbites.org and you'll see it's got nothing to do with nurture and everything to do with nature.

I've been bit by ankle biters on the hand (my fault), and by a bulldog on the face (when I was a kid - not my fault). The bulldog was much worse. And of course, ANY ANIMAL can bite. I've been bitten by iguanas and horses, too... but they don't continue to attack and attack until you're scalped or your face is eaten off or your throat is crushed and all your clothes are ripped off and strewn around like a bloody horror movie. It's pits that do that.

Alonso said whether a dog has a tendency to be aggressive does not necessarily depend on the breed.

“We tend to label aggression as something that’s inside the animal. That’s not it. Aggression is a circumstance,” she said. “If I corner you in a dark alley and you punch me, are you being aggressive?”

Stelow, the University of California clinician, said that bully breeds, such as an American pit bull terrier and a Staffordshire bull terrier, are statistically highly represented in incidents of fatal dog bites and attacks in the country. But that likely has less to do with their behavior and more with their physical abilities, she said.

If you look at the body type, they have large powerful jaws and they have large powerful bodies,” Stelow said. “They can overpower someone and inflict great harm.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/animalia/wp/2017/12/20/two-dogs-in-rural-virginia-mauled-their-owner-to-death-authorities-say-but-why/
 

GeorgiaSuzy

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
47
Reaction score
3
A competent autopsy WAS done, and she was killed by her own pet pits. They were doing what pits are bred to do. She didn't do anything wrong, nor did her Dad. Read the reports of every fatal dog attack death in the USA on dogsbite.org and you'll see the breed specific attack style of pits and be as appalled and awakened as I was.
 

GeorgiaSuzy

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
47
Reaction score
3
Alonso said whether a dog has a tendency to be aggressive does not necessarily depend on the breed.

“We tend to label aggression as something that’s inside the animal. That’s not it. Aggression is a circumstance,” she said. “If I corner you in a dark alley and you punch me, are you being aggressive?”

Stelow, the University of California clinician, said that bully breeds, such as an American pit bull terrier and a Staffordshire bull terrier, are statistically highly represented in incidents of fatal dog bites and attacks in the country. But that likely has less to do with their behavior and more with their physical abilities, she said.

If you look at the body type, they have large powerful jaws and they have large powerful bodies,” Stelow said. “They can overpower someone and inflict great harm.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/animalia/wp/2017/12/20/two-dogs-in-rural-virginia-mauled-their-owner-to-death-authorities-say-but-why/

Yes, their physical build does have something to do with their capacity to injure, but where most dogs bite then back off, bull dogs will continue despite their owners trying to pull them off their victims. They continue to return to the victim after being locked in another room (one even busted a hole thru the bathroom door to get back to the child victim). They return to attack the victim when they're being shot by police or their owners, focusing on their original victim. What frightened dog of any other breed does that?
 

2Hope4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
7,095
Reaction score
11,480
Kennel stress is real. Some dogs can handle it for years on end without an issue. Other dogs get very stressed in a few hours to a few days. I can see a dog use to having a human near them, and not kenneled, being stressed about being outside in a kennel with little to no human contact.

I agree with the poster that said this was neglect, and abuse. Sadly the consequences are more than any court could give.
 
Top