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ANIMALS

Woman in Switzerland attacked and killed by her own dog

A woman was killed at a dog training centre in western Switzerland this week after her Malinois attacked her, prosecutors confirmed Friday, saying the autopsy showed she had bled to death.

Woman in Switzerland attacked and killed by her own dog
A Malinois dog. Illustration photo: AFP

The 45-year-old woman was found dead inside a dog training pen in Auboranges in the canton of Fribourg on Tuesday, with her visibly aggressive Malinois standing over her body.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, police said the dog had first blocked officers and others from approaching the woman, and had subsequently attacked and mauled a female police officer before being shot to death by her partner.

The authorities were initially hesitant to speculate on the cause of death, but on Friday they announced that the autopsy had shown she had suffered multiple serious wounds to her arms.

“The autopsy's initial findings show that she bled to death due to multiple serious wounds on her upper limbs. These wounds were caused by the dog,” the Fribourg prosecutor's office said in Friday's statement.

Investigations are ongoing into the circumstances around the attack.

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ANIMALS

EXPLAINED: Why a plan to shoot deer at this Basel City cemetery is causing a storm

A plan to shoot several deer who live in a cemetery just a few kilometres from the centre of Basel is causing a stir in Switzerland.

EXPLAINED: Why a plan to shoot deer at this Basel City cemetery is causing a storm
One of the deer at Basel's Hörnli Cemetery. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

In May 2020, cantonal police in Basel City approved a request from city gardeners to cull several deer who live at the canton’s Hörnli Cemetery (Friedhof am Hörnli). 

Animal rights advocates have challenged the request, saying the deer should be protected. 

The cull has been suspended after an appeal was made to the Justice and Security Department of Basel City. 

The deer have lived at the cemetery – Switzerland’s largest – since it was built in 1926, although city records indicate that the deer population was “manageable” in the early days. 

The population has increased in recent years from 15 to 25.

The cemetery spans 54 hectares with space for 60,000 graves and is situated just metres from the Swiss-German border. 

Deer snacking on flowers at Basel's Hörnli Cemetery. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

‘A culinary paradise’ 

Advocates of the cull plan have said it is necessary for the ‘conservation’ of the cemetery. 

They argue the deer destroy gardens at the cemetery, leading to additional costs for maintenance. 

The risk of diseases its also increased due to the animal’s close proximity. 

In a plan more reminiscent of a spy thriller than a conservation effort, the ‘targeted kill’ is set to take place after dark which “should be done with silencers out of consideration for the peace and quiet of the grave and the adjacent living quarters.”

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports that the cemetery is a “culinary paradise” for the deer “with its variety of flowers and other plants”. 

‘Killing innocent animals just for eating flowers’

The animal advocates who launched the appeal gathered 18,000 signatures to suspend the effort. Among the supporters is French actress Brigitte Bardot, who wrote to the cantonal authorities demanding that the deer be protected. 

Fondation Franz Weber, which has been previously successful with animal protection efforts in the canton, has criticised the cull plan for “killing innocent animals just for eating flowers”. 

Private hunting is banned “as a matter of practice” in cemeteries all across Switzerland, said cantonal authorities. 

Switzerland is set to go to the polls in a referendum on hunting practices in September of 2020, although this is not related to the decision on the deer in the cemetery. 

 

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