Family dogs kill 2 Tennessee children, injure mother who tried to stop mauling, family says

Two young children are dead and their mother was seriously injured after two family dogs attacked a baby and a toddler in their West Tennessee home.

The stabbing occurred outside the family’s Memphis-area home Thursday, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Kirstie Bennard, 30, was seriously injured when she tried to intervene in the attack on her 5-month-old boy, Hollace Dean, and 2-year-old girl, Lilly Jane, family and police said.

“She put her body on top of Lilly’s to try to protect her after the attack started,” Bennard’s married uncle, Jeff Gibson, told USA TODAY on Saturday. “Both (dogs) started attacking her while she was laying on Lilly.”

The two children were pronounced dead when officials arrived at the home, the sheriff’s office reported.

Their mother was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, officials said.

Gibson said his nephew, Colby Bennard, was not home when the attack occurred.

It was not immediately known what provoked the violence.

John Morris, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office, told USA TODAY on Saturday that the case remained an ongoing and active investigation. He did not say if charges are pending in the case.

Kirstie Bennard, 30, suffered serious injuries when she tried to pull their family's dogs off her 5-month-old boy and 2-year-old girl.  Both children died in the attack on October 6, 2022 in West Tennessee.

Kirstie Bennard, 30, suffered serious injuries when she tried to pull their family’s dogs off her 5-month-old boy and 2-year-old girl. Both children died in the attack on October 6, 2022 in West Tennessee.

The demolition, Gibson said, lasted about 10 minutes.

Gibson wrote on Facebook Bennard suffered “countless amounts of stitches and bite marks all over her body, including her face.” He also posted a link to a fundraiser created by family friends on Friday to help the family.

The dogs — two pit bulls that belonged to the family — were euthanized at Memphis Animal Services on Thursday.

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The family owned the pets, Cheech and Mia, for more than eight years without a violent incident, Kelsey Canfield, the mother’s best friend, told Fox News.

“I can promise you those children were her world and if there was any sense of danger she would never have had those dogs near her children,” Canfield told the paper. “Those kids were everything to them and they just have a really long journey ahead of them.”

Starring: Lucas Finton with The Commercial Appeal.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2 children killed, mother injured after Tennessee dog slaughter

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