A friend told Fox News that the dogs that killed a toddler and infant and severely injured their mother had never been aggressive.
In Shelby County outside Memphis, 30-year-old Kirstie Jane Bennard was seriously injured trying to pull the family’s two pit bulls off 5-month-old Hollace Dean and 2-year-old Lilly Jane.
Kelsey Canfield, the shattered mom’s best friend, told Fox News Digital: “Those children were her world, and if there was any inkling of danger, she would never have let those dogs near her children.” “Those children were their lives, and they have a long road ahead.”
For more than eight years, the family had the pets, Cheech and Mia, without any violent incidents.
“We could never have imagined how long that attack would last,” she said.
On Friday, Canfield traveled to Regional One Health in Memphis to visit Kirstie Jane Bennard’s sister. Her condition has been upgraded from critical to stable.
“Initially, she was confused. Now she’s awake and aware of what happened,” Canfield said.
When the attack took place, the children’s father, Colby Bennard, who works as a parts manager at Bumpus Harley-Davidson, wasn’t home. Cheech and Mia had been referred to as “house lions” by their father on Facebook.
It is unclear why the family pets attacked the couple’s only children viciously.
Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the tragedy, said the dogs were euthanized.
In the late afternoon of Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., police and firefighters were called to a two-story home near Shelby Forrest State Park, where the children were pronounced dead.
“These children were perfect, they were beautiful,” Canfield said, adding that “they worshipped each other.”
Kirstie Jane Bennard’s sister, who declined to provide her name, requested privacy during this time of grief. “It was not only a loss for my sister, but for me as well,” she wept. “Those are my niece and nephew.”
The horrific attack has left the community in a state of shock.
“I am at a loss for words and my heart has been breaking ever since I found out,” wrote friend Stephanie Chipman on Facebook. “I’m at a loss for words.”
As of right now, there has been no autopsy for the children.
According to the non-profit dogsbite.org, at least 33 Americans died after being mauled to death by pit bulls in 2020.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Dogs that fatally mauled Tennessee toddlers, injured mom were never violent, friend says Fox News
- EXC: Pictured: Baby boy and his sister, 2, who were BOTH mauled to death by family’s pit bulls Daily Mail
- 5-year-old girl hospitalized after attack by dog pack in Collier County Wink News
- 2 young children die in attack by 2 family dogs, sheriff’s dept. says WVLT
- Family dogs kill toddler and baby, injure mother in Tennessee NBC News