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Tennessee Mom in Hospital After Trying to Save Her Two Young Children from Fatal Family Dog Mauling

Kirstie Bennard is holding her infant son, Hollace Dean, and Colby Bernard is holding daughter Lilly Jane, 2, in a family photo.

Kirstie Bennard and Colby Bennard with their children, Hollace Dean and Lilly Jane (image via GoFundMe).

A Tennessee woman is in the hospital recovering from severe injuries she suffered while trying to protect her two young children from a fatal attack by their family dogs.

Kirstie Bennard, 30, is in the hospital after suffering serious injuries while trying to stop the family’s dogs — two pit bulls — from mauling her two young children, Hollace Dean Bennard, 5 months, and Lilly Jane Bennard, 2.

The attack happened Thursday.

The children were pronounced dead at the scene, the Shelby County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office is still investigating, USA Today reported.

The mauling occurred outside the family’s home in the Memphis area, according to the USA Today report. Dad Colby Bennard was reportedly not home when it happened.

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

Gibson, meanwhile, has been providing updates on Facebook.

“As of yet there are no funeral arrangements for the kids,” Gibson wrote. “Kirstey [sic] is still in the hospital with an uncountable amount of stitches and bite marks over her entire body including her face. Both arms and legs are bandaged/wrapped up completely. As of now it looks like there isn’t any permanent damage other than a heart that will never heal.”

Gibson said that Kirstie Bennard is “a f&cking hero!”

“This attack lasted over 10 minutes and she never gave up trying to save these babies,” Gibson wrote. “Now all of us, family and friends, have to rally around both of them and show them how much they are loved. I don’t know if there can be a healing process but hopefully we can ALL find a way to cope with this tragedy.”

A friend of Kirstie Bennard said that the family had the dogs, named Cheech and Mia, as family pets for eight years, and there were no previous indications that they were dangerous or violent.

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

Canfield also told Fox that Kirstie Bennard has been told that her children died in the attack.

“She was initially confused,” Canfield said. “She’s awake now, and she’s aware [of what happened].”

According to the SCSO, the dogs have been euthanized.

A GoFundMe fundraising effort hosted by a friend of the family has raised more than $77,000.

[Image of Bennard family via GoFundMe.]

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