Beloved family pitbulls that killed toddler and baby and injured their mom had never shown aggression
SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE: A horrifying attack by pet pitbulls resulted in the death of five-month-old Hollace Dean Bennard and two-year-old Lilly Jane Bennard. Their mother was also seriously injured in the attack while trying to save them. When the family's dogs started viciously attacking the kids on Wednesday afternoon, on October 5, Kirstie Jane Bennard, 30, of Millington, tried to save them for "over 10 minutes." The reason the animals suddenly turned hostile is unknown.
The two young children were attacked by the dogs Cheech and Mia in Shelby County, Tennessee, and were pronounced dead at the scene. Bennard's closest friend, Kelsey Canfield, stated to Fox News that the dogs had never displayed any violent behavior and that if they had, "she would have never had those dogs near her kids." She added, "Those children were everything to them, and they just have a really long journey ahead."
SCSO detectives are on scene at the 700 block of Sylvan Road near Shelby Forest State Park, where at about 3:30 pm two family dogs attacked a 2-year-old girl, a 5-month-old boy, and their mother in the home. The children were pronounced deceased on the scene. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/2IzlBedyjs— ShelbyTNSheriff (@ShelbyTNSheriff) October 6, 2022
Canfield continued by saying that when she and the victim's sister visited Bennard, she was awake and conscious of what had happened. She stated, "They were perfect, they were beautiful, they worshiped each other," she said of the children. Jeff Gibson — an uncle of her husband Colby Bennard revealed that the mother of two has "uncountable" bite marks and stitches all over her body, including her face, and that both of her "arms and legs are bandaged/wrapped completely." Bennard's wounds won't result in "any permanent damage, other than a heart that will never heal," according to Gibson. Family friend Debbie Harvey told DailyMail on Friday, "She's still in hospital in 'critical condition." Colby, who is in charge of a Memphis Harley-Davidson dealership, was unharmed.
ShelbyTNSheriff updated on Twitter, "SCSO detectives report that the mother has been upgraded to stable condition at Regional One Health. The two pitbulls responsible for the attack were euthanized this afternoon by Memphis Animal Services. This is still an active, ongoing investigation."
UPDATE: SCSO detectives report that the mother has been upgraded to stable condition at Regional One Health. The two pit bulls responsible for the attack were euthanized this afternoon by Memphis Animal Services. This is still an active, ongoing investigation.— ShelbyTNSheriff (@ShelbyTNSheriff) October 6, 2022
The Pitbull breed is known for its aggression, but it is also known for its loyalty to its owners. Owners do not command their pets to be aggressive or attack family members or strangers, but carelessness could also play a role. For instance, The Detroit Free Press reported in 2016 that a pit bull owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after his pet mauled 4-year-old Xavier Strickland to death in front of his mother in December 2015. The owner, 42-year-old Geneke Lyons, was also found guilty of possessing dangerous animals causing death. According to the jury, Lyons, who owned four pit bull mix dogs, created a situation that contributed to the boy's death by not securing the dogs.
Experts agree that dogs are not killers by nature, but they must be properly trained and cannot be confined to a particular area. In fact, aggression is a defense mechanism for dogs when they feel threatened, and attacking the person/animal in front of them comes naturally.