Firefighters made a macabre discovery on Wednesday in the city of Toulouse, in south western France, when they discovered the decomposing body of woman in her home. The woman, aged 64, is believed to have lain undiscovered for around a month.
Firefighters quickly realized that her body had been partially consumed by her pet Yorkshire Terrier, which was trapped in the home without food since the owner’s death, French paper La Depeche reported.
The woman lived alone, and it appears no one had reported her missing. It was only when neighbors noticed a foul smell that they alerted authorities.
The owner apparently died of natural causes and police have not discovered any signs of homicide. However, the investigation is ongoing.
The Local reported on a similar case last year when a 41-year-old Frenchman was mauled to death in his home by his pet boxer. Police didn’t say what prompted the deadly violence.
It is not uncommon for dogs to survive by eating the bodies of the dead owners if they have to. Writing for the website Slate, Brain Palmer said: "Dogs are perfectly willing to eat human corpses, and there's no evidence that they treat their masters differently than any other dead body."
Stories of dogs and their owners regularly make the French press. One of the most incredible ones came in March 2013 when a woman's German Shepherd knocked a rifle away at the last moment as she was about to shoot herself.