A mother is fighting for her life after trying to shield her children from the family’s pit bulls in a fatal mauling.
The attack happened Wednesday in western Tennessee outside of Memphis, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
The mother, Kirstie Bennard, 30, suffered serious injuries after stepping in to protect her five-month-old son Hollace Dean and two-year-old daughter Lilly Jane. according to the sheriff’s office.
Jeff Gibson, the uncle of Ms. Benard’s husband, Colby, said USA Today on Saturday that she “put her body over Lilly’s to try to protect her after the attack began.”
“Both [dogs] started attacking her while she was lying on top of Lily,” he added.
The young children were pronounced dead at the scene by the authorities, the sheriff’s office he said. Ms. Bennard was taken to hospital in critical condition.
Mr Gibson told the paper that Benard was not at home at the time of the attack.
Sheriff’s office later He wrote in an update Thursday that “detectives report 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.”
Mr Gibson wrote on Facebook on Thursday that the mother had “countless stitches and bite marks all over her body, including her face. Both hands and feet are tied/wrapped completely. For now, there appears to be no permanent damage other than a heart that will never heal.”
He said the mother is a “hero!” and that the softening “lasted over 10 minutes and he never stopped trying to save these babies. Now all of us, family and friends, must rally around them both and show them how much they are loved. I don’t know if there can be a healing process, but I hope we can ALL find a way to deal with this tragedy.”
A friend of Ms. Bennard’s, Kelsey Canfield, told Fox News that the family had had the dogs Cheech and Mia for more than eight years without any problems.
“I can promise you those children were her world and if there was any perception of danger, she would never have had those dogs near her children,” Ms Canfield told Fox. “These guys have had everything going for them and they just have a really long journey ahead of them.”
“This attack lasted longer than any of us could have ever imagined,” he told the agency.
“At first she was confused. She’s awake now and aware” of what happened, Ms. Canfield said of the mother.
“They were perfect, they were beautiful,” she added of the two children.
“They adored each other,” she said.
Ms. Bennard’s sister also spoke to Fox News, but did not give her name.
“It wasn’t just a loss for my sister, it was a loss for me,” she told the report. “They were my niece and nephew.”
Fox News also noted that family friend Stephanie Chipman wrote on Facebook that “to say I have been speechless and heartbroken since I found out is an understatement.”
“Just in complete shock. I am praying so so hard for the good Lord to hold you and your family tight and get you through this. Here for you always and I love you so much!” she added.
Another family friend, Debbie Harvey, wrote on a GoFundMe page that the Bennards are “amazing and sweet.”
“They are so loved in this community and we need to step up to support them,” he added.
The independent has contacted people close to the family for comment.