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

charminglane

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Maybe O/T but it struck me as a bit funny, the UK has banned these “dangerous dogs” (Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro) whereas in the US giant African Snails are banned.

Those snails don't leash well.
 

Stanly

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Maybe O/T but it struck me as a bit funny, the UK has banned these “dangerous dogs” (Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro) whereas in the US giant African Snails are banned.
Giant snails are a danger to wildlife in the fact that if they escape they can eat large amounts of local crops and reproduce by themselves. I think thats a little different.
Im not sure if im having problems trying to explain myself.... its nothing to do with 'large dogs' its pitbulls.
This and ONLY this breed im referring to originate from England and were 'made' to fight in pits. Hence Pit Bull. I am not going to post again. Maybe the attacks are drop in the ocean in a large country like the USA but here in the UK its a high statistic for such a small country.
I think that is extremely petty trying to be sarky comparing it to a snail. This poor girl lost her life and your petty remarks are unjust. These dogs (can be) lethal and im not debating it any more. Statistics prove this and hopefully others might learn from this thread. I feel for this poor girls family.

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bears10

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I’m in Virginia and in my city stray or loose dogs and cats are pretty rare, we may see two dogs roaming in a given year and nearly every one has gotten out of their home or fence somehow. Our shelter is run by our police department and also serves an adjacent county. I just looked and there are something like 2 dogs currently for adoption and maybe 4 cats. So not everywhere in the US has this problem.


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I live in NY and we do not have this problem by any means where I live. Like at all. But people love to stereotype the US.


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bears10

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Giant snails are a danger to wildlife in the fact that if they escape they can eat large amounts of local crops and reproduce by themselves. I think thats a little different.
Im not sure if im having problems trying to explain myself.... its nothing to do with 'large dogs' its pitbulls.
This and ONLY this breed im referring to originate from England and were 'made' to fight in pits. Hence Pit Bull. I am not going to post again. Maybe the attacks are drop in the ocean in a large country like the USA but here in the UK its a high statistic for such a small country.
I think that is extremely petty trying to be sarky comparing it to a snail. This poor girl lost her life and your petty remarks are unjust. These dogs (can be) lethal and im not debating it any more. Statistics prove this and hopefully others might learn from this thread. I feel for this poor girls family.

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I have to agree. The majority of posts on this thread are people’s own experiences and opinions. A young woman was murdered by her dogs... and I feel like maybe 25% of the posts, if that, actually have anything to do with Bethany. I’m glad everyone here seems to have great experiences with their dogs, especially pit bulls and rescues, but there’s a young woman who was mauled to death and then eaten by her dogs, and that’s the unfortunate situation that brought us all here.


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JaneEyre

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I have to agree. The majority of posts on this thread are people’s own experiences and opinions. A young woman was murdered by her dogs... and I feel like maybe 25% of the posts, if that, actually have anything to do with Bethany. I’m glad everyone here seems to have great experiences with their dogs, especially pit bulls and rescues, but there’s a young woman who was mauled to death and then eaten by her dogs, and that’s the unfortunate situation that brought us all here.


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With respect (and you know I mean that in all sincerity, Bears), when discussing a death or a crime we always discuss how it could have been prevented. In many of the child murders, we end up debating CPS and the involvement of neighbors, family and friends. In the mass shootings we end up discussing the perp's background and whether it was troubled and if there were red flags or mental illness. And we end up debating all of these issues based on our own experiences with these various things. That's what we've done here as well. It may rub someone the wrong way the same as criticism or praise of CPS may rub someone the wrong way in a child murder thread, but that doesn't mean it's not a meaningful discussion about circumstances surrounding the crime.

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bears10

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With respect (and you know I mean that in all sincerity, Bears), when discussing a death or a crime we always discuss how it could have been prevented. In many of the child murders, we end up debating CPS and the involvement of neighbors, family and friends. In the mass shootings we end up discussing the perp's background and whether it was troubled and if there were red flags or mental illness. And we end up debating all of these issues based on our own experiences with these various things. That's what we've done here as well. It may rub someone the wrong way the same as criticism or praise of CPS may rub someone the wrong way in a child murder thread, but that doesn't mean it's not a meaningful discussion about circumstances surrounding the crime.

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Yes I know you are sincere and I have appreciated your posts in this thread very much. I can tell you are a genuine animal lover and I respect what you do for animals. I’m sure what you do is not easy and can be very emotional.

I just feel like Bethany’s murder is being downplayed in a sense, or maybe that she’s being blamed (for adopting the dog who had been aggressive, leaving the dogs at her dads, etc), because others have had different experiences with pit bulls. I truly don’t think people would be as supportive of a murderer if it was an abused child who killed another child as they are towards the dogs who murdered Bethany. It’s hard for me to ignore the statistics regarding pit bulls. I guess I’m biased, but I’ve never been on a thread where people defend the murderers the way they are on this one.

ETA - it also just seems like the thread is a debate about animals and completely derailed from Bethany’s murder. The same way some threads get derailed with heated gun control debates. I just think it’d be more appropriate to have a thread to discuss dog specific issues, so people can share their own experiences and opinions without it being at the expense of a dead young woman.

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JaneEyre

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Yes I know you are sincere and I have appreciated your posts in this thread very much. I can tell you are a genuine animal lover and I respect what you do for animals. I’m sure what you do is not easy and can be very emotional.

I just feel like Bethany’s murder is being downplayed in a sense, or maybe that she’s being blamed (for adopting the dog who had been aggressive, leaving the dogs at her dads, etc), because others have had different experiences with pit bulls. I truly don’t think people would be as supportive of a murderer if it was an abused child who killed another child as they are towards the dogs who murdered Bethany. It’s hard for me to ignore the statistics regarding pit bulls. I guess I’m biased, but I’ve never been on a thread where people defend the murderers the way they are on this one.

ETA - it also just seems like the thread is a debate about animals and completely derailed from Bethany’s murder. The same way some threads get derailed with heated gun control debates. I just think it’d be more appropriate to have a thread to discuss dog specific issues, so people can share their own experiences and opinions without it being at the expense of a dead young woman.

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I'm sorry if it seems like blaming the victim. I get that. I know that from my perspective I always try to teach about the human error part to these events because it's the only thing that can prevent it in the future. Animals cannot reason in the same way we do, and ultimately it's the choices we make about them that leads to whatever outcome is going to happen. We decide whether they are born or not, whether they are adopted or not, what kind of housing, training, food they get, etc.

Understand that when I say human error is behind most of these cases, I sometimes mean just a human error in communication or understanding. That does not mean anyone deserves to be attacked or that there was abuse happening. But the only way to prevent attacks is to understand what went wrong.

When that little Benji dog got hold of me and nearly slit my wrist, I did not deserve it! But it happened due to human error. It happened because I failed to recognize how he was communicating with me, and because I was being impatient at the time. I have effed up a few times and honestly sometimes I think I am lucky to be alive, given how big most of the dogs were that I rescued. So her situation hits very close to home for me.

I also think about what she would think of this thread, because I can see myself in her. We can't know. Maybe she would hate pit bulls now. But I suspect she would probably just tell us what happened, what signs she missed, and would probably want people to be more educated about handling their dogs. I can imagine her saying it was a mistake to take Pac-man, in particular. I'm guessing her heart said yes, but she gets no do-over on that mistake, and that is sad.

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Jennifer17

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There is a reason that other countries have banned or have restricted ownership of some dogs. I know that the US has a huge population and therefore a huge number of these dogs, but when you have the same dogs involved in fatal or near fatal attacks, you have to think about why?
You cannot depend just on people being responsible owners when some are clearly not.
 

Catmommy

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While I understand that people are quick to say where this young woman went wrong and not to categorize a breed that has been responsible for more dog deaths in the last ten years than several breeds combined, I also agree that victim blaming and trying to point out where she went wrong caring for these dogs is not only ineffectual but also downright cruel to those who loved and cared for her. Like telling family and friends how their loved one screwed up and made themselves a victim of a domestic violence offender/killer or serial murderer. Not appropriate. Not appreciated. And not the least bit empathetic/sympathetic.
 

JaneEyre

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While I understand that people are quick to say where this young woman went wrong and not to categorize a breed that has been responsible for more dog deaths in the last ten years than several breeds combined, I also agree that victim blaming and trying to point out where she went wrong caring for these dogs is not only ineffectual but also downright cruel to those who loved and cared for her. Like telling family and friends how their loved one screwed up and made themselves a victim of a domestic violence offender/killer or serial murderer. Not appropriate. Not appreciated. And not the least bit empathetic/sympathetic.
Really? Because I see it as being no different from other discussions on this forum. For instance, with the Texas church shooting, it was not blaming the pastor to discuss how him asking the shooter to stay away may have been part of what set the shooter off. It was just part of the story. And we ask these questions and discuss what precipitated deaths because we need to understand how they happened and how to prevent these tragedies in the future.

What else are we to do, other than to discuss how tragic her death is, than to try to figure out how it happened and how to prevent such incidents?

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Jennifer17

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Really? Because I see it as being no different from other discussions on this forum. For instance, with the Texas church shooting, it was not blaming the pastor to discuss how him asking the shooter to stay away may have been part of what set the shooter off. It was just part of the story. And we ask these questions and discuss what precipitated deaths because we need to understand how they happened and how to prevent these tragedies in the future.

What else are we to do, other than to discuss how tragic her death is, than to try to figure out how it happened and how to prevent such incidents?

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It is a little like mass shootings, isn't it?. Everyone is horrified and talks about how tragic it is, and try to figure out how to prevent such incidents, but nothing is done to prevent them.Everyone forgets, until the next time.
 

Stanly

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It is a little like mass shootings, isn't it?. Everyone is horrified and talks about how tragic it is, and try to figure out how to prevent such incidents, but nothing is done to prevent them.Everyone forgets, until the next time.
Yes true. Other than ban owning these dogs [emoji12]

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JaneEyre

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It is a little like mass shootings, isn't it?. Everyone is horrified and talks about how tragic it is, and try to figure out how to prevent such incidents, but nothing is done to prevent them.Everyone forgets, until the next time.
It is, I think. For one thing, we're trying to understand the incomprehensible. It's hard to get into a mass shooter's head to understand what was going on. Well, it's also really hard for the average person to get into a dog's head because we do not think like animals. We anthropomorphize, even those of us who know better. And I'll tell you that with all my experience, I got lax, when life got busy, about trying to understand what my new dog was going through when we moved just months after getting her. It only resulted in destruction of stuff in the house, but it took me awhile of being exasperated before I sat down and really concentrated on trying to understand what was going on in her head and how to address it.

I am all for seriously curtailing breeding of pits. Eliminating the aggressive ones or even all of them from shelters isn't going to do the trick as long as they are being bred so widely. Someone I grew up with breeds them, and I can't understand it. I tried talking sense into her, educating her about how many are in shelters. I asked her why, if she was doing it because she loved the breed, she didn't focus on rescuing instead. She claimed she would reserve a kennel spot for rescues, and then months later I saw her advertising one of her own pits for free on Facebook because she had a health issue and couldn't breed her. At that point I had to just hide her from my news feed. She doesn't love pits, she loves the money she's making off these dogs. And she still hasn't rescued a single one.

ETA - I think that instead of going after every pit in existence, we need to go after those breeding them. Those are the people I blame. There's just no reason to breed a dog that the shelter system and community is already flooded with.
 

rsd1200

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Giant snails are a danger to wildlife in the fact that if they escape they can eat large amounts of local crops and reproduce by themselves. I think thats a little different.
Im not sure if im having problems trying to explain myself.... its nothing to do with 'large dogs' its pitbulls.
This and ONLY this breed im referring to originate from England and were 'made' to fight in pits. Hence Pit Bull. I am not going to post again. Maybe the attacks are drop in the ocean in a large country like the USA but here in the UK its a high statistic for such a small country.
I think that is extremely petty trying to be sarky comparing it to a snail. This poor girl lost her life and your petty remarks are unjust. These dogs (can be) lethal and im not debating it any more. Statistics prove this and hopefully others might learn from this thread. I feel for this poor girls family.

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I understand. I would never own one, personally. I've seen how, otherwise perfectly normal dog owners, in the past, who got one, and it went south, and they were just totally surprised. Thankfully, no humans were killed. I do think that what they were bred to do originally, and still are being bred to do, has a lot to do with this, for lack of a better word, phenomena. Pits, unlike most other dogs, don't seem to give any signs, to the person who is fixing to be attacked, or is witnessing an attack, on another animal. "It came out of nowhere!" Is the standard statement. My husband was in his yard or in front of it, with our GSD. Our GSD was one of the large, old-fashioned GSDs. None of this hip sloping stuff they do today. I digress, my husband was out near the road in front of his home, at the time, and out of nowhere the neighbor's pit showed up, making a bee line, straight at him. Our GSD, rolled up between them, and with his body weight,rolled the Pit, and engaged him, until, the pit backed off and ran back home. Again, our GSD was very big, and in excellent shape, at the time. However, many times dogs will give a various signs before biting;

1) Some dogs will yawn, and lick their lips (more than once). They are uncomfortable with a situation.
2) Eye contact: Avoidance of eye contact. Could be a more timid dog and a fear biter. Fear biters usually cower, and tuck their tails. Direct eye contact is a more dominant dog, and usually goes along with #3, below.
3) Erect, slowly wagging tail, body still/stiff. (If a dog is happy, their whole body wags), direct eye contact.
4) Hackles raised. Big sign that a dog is unhappy and may bite. (Hackles = fur along neck behind head to withers).
5) If you see the whites of a dog's,(or horse's), eyes, they are anxious and uncomfortable and can lash out.
6) Growl and/or show of teeth. (Obvious)


https://stories.barkpost.com/bite-prevention/

https://www.thespruce.com/signs-a-dog-may-bite-1118537
 

bears10

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I understand. I would never own one, personally. I've seen how, otherwise perfectly normal dog owners, in the past, who got one, and it went south, and they were just totally surprised. Thankfully, no humans were killed. I do think that what they were bred to do originally, and still are being bred to do, has a lot to do with this, for lack of a better word, phenomena. Pits, unlike most other dogs, don't seem to give any signs, to the person who is fixing to be attacked, or is witnessing an attack, on another animal. "It came out of nowhere!" Is the standard statement. My husband was in his yard or in front of it, with our GSD. Our GSD was one of the large, old-fashioned GSDs. None of this hip sloping stuff they do today. I digress, my husband was out near the road in front of his home, at the time, and out of nowhere the neighbor's pit showed up, making a bee line, straight at him. Our GSD, rolled up between them, and with his body weight,rolled the Pit, and engaged him, until, the pit backed off and ran back home. Again, our GSD was very big, and in excellent shape, at the time. However, many times dogs will give a various signs before biting;

1) Some dogs will yawn, and lick their lips (more than once). They are uncomfortable with a situation.
2) Eye contact: Avoidance of eye contact. Could be a more timid dog and a fear biter. Fear biters usually cower, and tuck their tails. Direct eye contact is a more dominant dog, and usually goes along with #3, below.
3) Erect, slowly wagging tail, body still/stiff. (If a dog is happy, their whole body wags), direct eye contact.
4) Hackles raised. Big sign that a dog is unhappy and may bite. (Hackles = fur along neck behind head to withers).
5) If you see the whites of a dog's,(or horse's), eyes, they are anxious and uncomfortable and can lash out.
6) Growl and/or show of teeth. (Obvious)


https://stories.barkpost.com/bite-prevention/

https://www.thespruce.com/signs-a-dog-may-bite-1118537

Wow the Pitbull running at your husband is scary. Thankfully your dog was there to protect him. I wonder what the pit bulls intentions were? I’m not being facetious, I am genuinely wondering if he planned to attack or if he wanted to play. Did your husband ever encounter that pit again?

Thanks for the info on some of the signs dogs could show before biting. I’ve never been fond of pit bulls, but since reading about Bethany, which in turn led me to read about the many other pit bull attacks that seem to be far to common IMO, I can say I am not comfortable being around pit bulls at all.

My boss’s dog passed earlier this year. She was a Boston terrier, very sweet, and he used to bring her to the office almost every day. Sometimes he’d go out to jobsites all day and leave her at the office with me. He and his wife are planning on getting another dog, and he has mentioned many times that he’d like a pit bull. Before this thread, I had no problem with it because I figured he’d raise her right and all will be good. But now, no way in hell am I comfortable with him leaving me alone with a pit bull in the office, especially since we get walk in customers at least a few times a day. I honestly think I’d have to look for another job if they decided to go with a pit bull.


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rsd1200

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I live in NY and we do not have this problem by any means where I live. Like at all. But people love to stereotype the US.


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I am in a more rural location and, there are times that we see dropped cats and kittens. A friend saw a bunch of them dropped not far from my home and, a softie for animals, tried to capture them and take them to her home or the shelter. I don't think she even got one of them. They just spit and scattered. Most of the dogs we see loose, out here, are dogs that have escaped their runs, their underground fence collar's battery died, that sort of thing. Back in the 80s we had few dogs running in town. We had no shelter, I only knew of one, in four connecting counties. Our dog catcher, if called about a problem dog, would just drive up, get out, and if no one knew who it belonged to, he'd just shoot it on-site, throw it in his truck bed, and drive off (in front of kids, God, and everybody). He had a pen, iirc, for if the dog had bitten, to keep it quarantined for the amount of time they did so back then. My grandfather had to take those rabies shots. In the stomach. Brutal. (This was many years ago. I think they've advanced quite a bit since then.)
 

rsd1200

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O/T The one dog that I could NOT train to come when called, should have named it Houdini, and was a very gentle soul, but I chased that dog all over the county. We had a couple goats and horses for her to watch over but, being a Great Pyrenees, she set her OWN territory, and it went well past the 50+ acres we sit on. We got her as a pup and kept her til she passed of old age, but I'll never have another, no matter how sweet she was.

A bit of levity. Wrong breed, but she was similar to the dog in Funny Farm...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS0G0Jtp1fI
 

rsd1200

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Wow the Pitbull running at your husband is scary. Thankfully your dog was there to protect him. I wonder what the pit bulls intentions were? I’m not being facetious, I am genuinely wondering if he planned to attack or if he wanted to play. Did your husband ever encounter that pit again?

Thanks for the info on some of the signs dogs could show before biting. I’ve never been fond of pit bulls, but since reading about Bethany, which in turn led me to read about the many other pit bull attacks that seem to be far to common IMO, I can say I am not comfortable being around pit bulls at all.

My boss’s dog passed earlier this year. She was a Boston terrier, very sweet, and he used to bring her to the office almost every day. Sometimes he’d go out to jobsites all day and leave her at the office with me. He and his wife are planning on getting another dog, and he has mentioned many times that he’d like a pit bull. Before this thread, I had no problem with it because I figured he’d raise her right and all will be good. But now, no way in hell am I comfortable with him leaving me alone with a pit bull in the office, especially since we get walk in customers at least a few times a day. I honestly think I’d have to look for another job if they decided to go with a pit bull.


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BBM

I just talked to my spouse because it's been a long while since the attack, and I asked him to refresh my memory:

He said the dogs were normally behind the fence and there were two of them. They were kept on chains too, and unless you just knew the guy, you didn't know they were back there. He said he never walked on that side, so as not to stir them up, just to be cautious. That day, one of them got out, and he said it came at him like an arrow shot from a bow. NO intent on play. At. All.

After our dog rolled the pit and the fight ensued, between the dogs, the owner came running out. The pit had gone for our dog's throat, (well, my husband's dog at the time), but, fortunately, his GSD had a big, thick, leather, collar and the pit had grabbed it, and wouldn't turn loose. The pit owner grabbed his dog's collar (my spouse said he was not getting in the mix of that), and got him to release. They kept the dogs but they never got back out again.

Note: The pit owner just lived around the corner, but my husband said he just avoided that area after that, and never walked his GSD in that direction again. They'd been out walking that day. He always took our GSD out for a long walk, nearly every day.
 
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