Two newborn twin sisters in Brazil were mauled to death by their family dog in what relatives described as a possible act of “jealously,” according to a report Thursday.
Elaine Novais had left her prematurely born one-month-old babies, Anne and Analú, alone briefly while she talked to a neighbor at her home in Piripá on June 23 when the Labrador-Foxhound mix struck, according to The Sun.
Novais, 29, heard the infants crying in a bedroom and dragged the canine away from them but the animal had already critically injured both of their abdomens, according to the outlet, which cited a police report.
A neighbor, who worked as a nursing assistant, rushed to help the twins and they were taken to Maria Pedreira Barbosa Municipal Hospital, where they were pronounced dead, according to the report. Novais collapsed with shock and grief after hearing they had perished.
“This has devastated the parents,” neighbor Maria de Jesus said, according to the outlet. “I pray that they don’t fall into a depression but it will be difficult because the children were beautiful, really loved and desperately wanted.”
The dog had lived with Novais and her husband, Regis, for five years and was usually gentle but may have felt “left out” after the twins were born, an unnamed family member said.
“We think that with the arrival of the twins, the animal no longer had the attention and affection of its owners that it had been used to,” an unnamed family member said, according to the outlet.
“This may have caused some kind of jealousy and led what was normally a docile animal to attack the children.”
One of the babies died instantly from the wounds while the other was gravely injured and suffered a cardiac arrest, according to the report. The couple has two dogs but the second one is not believed to have been involved in the attack.
The tragic event comes after Novais and Regis, 32, had tried unsuccessfully to start a family for nine years, according to the report.
Officials in Piripá, a small northern town, expressed sympathy for the heartbroken parents.
“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,” the town said in a statement.
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