Newborn twin sisters were mauled to death by a family dog after their mother 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 the Bahia region of Brazil last Tuesday.
Devastated mum Elaine Novais, 29, rushed to help her babies after hearing their cries from her bedroom, but it was too late to save them.
She and her husband Regis, 32, had been trying for nine years to have children.
Elaine, a council worker in the village of Piripá, pulled the animal 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 but one died at the scene while the other passed away later at Maria Pedreira Barbosa Municipal Hospital after going into cardiac arrest.
The dog, which was described as normally “docile”, is believed to have become jealous after not receiving as much attention since the birth of the babies last month.
Shocked relatives said the animal had been in the family for five years with no problems.
A family member claimed the dog “was left out in a way, and it no longer had the attention and affection 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 been born a month early via cesarean section.
Elaine collapsed from shock following the attack and had to be sedated at the hospital.
Neighbour Maria de Jesus speaking to FocusOn News said: “This has devastated the parents.
“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.”
Police in Brazil say they are investigating the deaths, but are yet to take testimonies from the grieving parents.
The council in Piripá, which is home to just 1,000 people, 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.”