DACHSHUNDS KILL MONTH-OLD TOT IN JEALOUS RAGE.
The pets, both just eight inches tall, leapt from a table into the youngster's cot. Then they savaged him to death.
Police said: "They literally tore the baby apart.
"Most of the damage was done by one dog. But both were involved."
Little Thomas Parmentier was sleeping in the ground-floor bedroom of his home when the dogs, a female called Rita and male called Cami, struck.
As the tot was bitten all over his body his parents, Eric and Agnes, and their three-year-old daughter enjoyed a Mother's Day picnic in the garden.
Within minutes of discovering the horror, Eric grabbed a gun and shot both hounds dead. Ironically, he had gone into the house to feed them scraps from the picnic.
Last night the heartbroken Parmentiers were too distressed to speak about the tragedy last Sunday.
But Alain Caid, a neighbour in their home town of Dugny-sur-Meuse, near Verdun, north-east France, said: "The entire street is appalled.
"Agnes would take Thomas out in his pram most mornings. She always looked so happy and fulfilled."
Local mayor Guy Peridon said the anguished couple had been trying for a second child for three years.
He said: "After their daughter was born, they were desperate for another baby. Thomas finally arrived in April and they were thrilled. This is a shocking tragedy. They are a popular and friendly family."
Yesterday, experts said the dogs could not be blamed.
Dachshund specialist Rosa de Rennes said: "In the animal world, it's a natural reaction to defend the secure environment you have around you.
"These dogs were just protecting their territory. They might be small in the dog world. But they are a lot stronger than a defenceless baby.
"When Thomas arrived, they would have felt their important role in the home was weakened.
"The baby would have been receiving all the attention and cuddles the dogs had been getting the week before."
Ms de Rennes said the dogs would probably not have gone berserk if the parents had "introduced" them to their son every day to show he was not a threat.
She said: "You have to bring them all into the same room, then cuddle the dogs to show they are still loved. They are not complex creatures. This will almost always work."
The breeder who sold the family the two pets asked not to be named. He said: "Horrific as it is, most dachshunds would probably act in the same way if they felt threatened.
"Owners are always warned to keep very young children clear of the animals."
But British expert Roger Mugford said the animals' behaviour was "extremely uncommon."
He said: "Dog owners with young children should not be unduly concerned.
"Most dogs will come to terms with a new arrival very quickly. This is a very unusual case."
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|Author:||Foreign, MARK DOWDNEY|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||May 28, 1997|
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