Newborn twin sisters were mauled to death by a family dog when their mother briefly left the room to talk to a neighbour.
The ‘jealous’ Labrador and American foxhound cross attacked the 26-day-old premature babies at their home in Piripá, in the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil, last Tuesday.
Mother Elaine Novais, 29, rushed to the aid of her girls Anne and Analú after hearing their cries from her bedroom, but was too late to save them.
Mrs Novais, a council worker who had struggled to conceive for nine years, pulled the violent dog away from the twins, but it had already inflicted fatal damage on their abdomens.
A nurse who lived nearby performed first aid on the twins, one who died instantly from her injuries and the other who later died at Maria Pedreira Barbosa Municipal Hospital after going into cardiac arrest.
The dog, described as ‘docile’, is believed to have become jealous after not receiving as much attention since the birth of the babies.
A family member claimed the dog ‘was left out in a way, and it no longer had the attention and affection of its owners provided before’, reports The Sun.
They added: ‘That could have caused some kind of jealousy and led the dog to attack the children.’
Anne and Analú died one day before their due date, having arrived a month early via cesarean section.
Police are investigating the deaths, but are yet to take testimonies from the devastated parents.
The council of Piripá, a village with a population of 1,000, said in a statement on social media:
‘In the face of this immeasurable loss, we express our condolences and sympathy with parents Elaine and Regis, and their friends and family in this moment of sadness and pain.
‘May God comfort your hearts and give you the strength to transform all the pain of this irreparable loss into faith and hope.’
Mrs Novais and her husband Regis, 32, had struggled for nine years to have children.
Mrs Novais was sedated at the hospital after collapsing from shock.