Pregnant woman killed by dogs during hunt in French forest

20 November 2019, 12:04 | Updated: 20 November 2019, 21:21

A pregnant woman was killed by several dogs in a forest in northern France, investigators say.

Elisa Pilarski, 29, was walking one of her own dogs when she was bitten to death in the Forest of Retz, south of the Aisne, on Saturday.

Dozens of dogs were taking part in a hunt near to where she died at the time, French daily newspaper Le Parisien reports.

Ms Pilarski phoned her husband when she felt threatened by a pack of dogs she had encountered in the forest, and reportedly said: "I'm scared, come quickly. There are plenty of dogs barking around."

Her husband Christophe reportedly left work and arrived at the scene an hour later.

He found Ms Pilarski in the forest after hearing the screams of their own dog who was curled up against her body, French news site L'Union reports.

She was said to have been found on the edge of the woods not far from where she lives.

Her unborn baby, who the couple are said to have named Enzo, was also killed in the attack, L'Union added.

A woman who lived nearby told the news site that the husband came to her house and said: "My wife has been killed by dogs."

French prosecutor Frederic Trinh, quoted in L'Union, said: "The autopsy determined that the death occurred between 1pm and 1:30pm and was due to haemorrhage following several dog bites in the upper and lower limbs and in the head, some bites being before death and others after death."

He added: "The lifeless body of a 29-year-old woman was discovered by her partner in the vicinity of a forest trail in Retz, located in the commune of Saint- Pierre-Aigle.

"According to the declarations of the deceased's companion, the latter had gone to walk her dog and called him to report the presence of threatening dogs. "

French police have opened a manslaughter investigation and are investigating who the dogs that killed Ms Pilarski belong to, Le Courrier Picard reports.

Angela Van Den Berghe, a person associated with the hunt, is quoting in L'Union as saying: "To our knowledge, the tragic accident that occurred has no relation neither with our dogs, nor with the hunt with hounds. A very thorough investigation is underway."

Police have reportedly taken samples from 93 dogs, as well as five others that belonged to the couple.

Ms Pilarski and her husband were dog lovers who met at a dog show, L'Union reports.

Friends have been paying tribute on Ms Pilarski's Facebook page since her death.

Arocas Axel wrote: "Rest in peace this is so sad and unfair.

"Courage to the loved ones."

Peter Tpq wrote: "So shocked. I so loved seeing your posts every day with your amazing dogs."