Dogs went through 'drastic lifestyle' changes before mauling in Virginia

Melissa Hipolit and Dr. Amy Learn

Melissa Hipolit and Dr. Amy Learn

Agnew previously made several statements that he cleared up on Monday - after an avalanche of phone calls and social media - and he offered more detail.

Later officials would release photos and details of the grisly discovery.

"Let me cut right to the chase, the most important detail that we did not release because we were anxious about the well-being of the family is that in the course of trying to capture the dogs early Friday morning...we turned and looked..."

"I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs observed, the dogs eating the rib cage on the body", Agnew was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

He said they made the decision to capture them instead of shoot them.

He hopes the victim's friends, and the people of Goochland, will better understand as well.

"The injuries were very severe", Agnew added.

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Authorities said the bite marks on Stephens, including the ones on her skull, were consistent with canine marks. "There were also scratch marks consistent with a smaller animal than something like a bear".

The medical examiner also concluded with "complete certainty that there was no sexual assault involved". Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew described Stephens as 'petite, ' and said the dogs were between 100-120 pounds.

The sheriff added that both animals were still attacking the deceased victim when the officers arrived on scene.

He said Stephens' relatives have requested for the dogs to be euthanized.

Shawn Whitlock, an investigator with the sheriff's office, said there was no sign that she was killed any other way.

"[The dogs were a] little bit neglected towards the end of this", Sergeant Mike Blackwood said about the days leading up to Bethany's death.

Police chased the dogs for over an hour before finally capturing them and Bethany's body was removed from the scene, reports.

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Friends say Stephens had recently been receiving death threats prior to the incident, which is another reason why they question whether the dogs were to blame. The dogs, who typically lived indoors, were moved to an outside kennel where they stayed "in the cold".

The dogs were euthanized Saturday, with the family's permission. The dogs' remains are being preserved at the attorney general's office until a lab can run a toxicology test. "Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans".

"I don't think there's any way we can definitively say what caused the attack", Agnew said, according to the Times-Dispatch.

"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.

"The narrative that I was hearing from so many, particularly on social media, was so far off the mark", Sheriff James Agnew said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Sheriff Agnew said once that takes place it will be about two weeks before results are available and there could potentially be more answers as to what may have happened.

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