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French police carry out DNA tests on 67 dogs after pregnant woman mauled to death

French police investigating the death of a pregnant woman mauled to death by dogs while walking in the woods have carried out DNA tests on 67 dogs to try identify those that attacked her, investigators said on Thursday.

French police carry out DNA tests on 67 dogs after pregnant woman mauled to death
Hunting is a popular pastime in France. Illustration photo: AFP

Elisa Pilarski, 29, was found dead on Saturday in Retz forest about 90 kilometres northeast of Paris.

A hunt with hounds was underway at the time in the forest where she was walking her own dog.

An autopsy showed that she died of bleeding after several dog bites to the upper and lower limbs and the head.

Elisa, who was six months pregnant, worked as a riding instructor and was described as an animal lover who owned five dogs together with her partner.

READ ALSO All you need to know about France’s hunting season

 

Frederic Trinh, the public prosecutor leading the investigation into her death, said on Thursday that DNA tests had been carried out on 67 dogs – 62 from the hunting club and five belonging to Pilarski and her partner.

An investigation has been launched against persons unknown – a common procedure in France at the start of a probe – for manslaughter due to carelessness or negligence.

Trinh said that police still had no main line of inquiry.

He confirmed that Pilarski had phoned her partner, who was at work, before the attack to tell him that she had come across “threatening dogs”.

In a Facebook message she also wrote that a German shepherd was on the prowl but police had yet to identify that dog, Trinh said.

Pilarski’s partner Christophe told BFM TV channel that when he arrived on the scene around 45 minutes later he came across hunting hounds first of all and a rider.

 

He then saw a pack of “around 30” dogs near a ravine where he found her body as well as the couple’s own dog Curtis, whom he said had been bitten on the head.

Sobbing during the interview, he told BFM that what he initially mistook for a log turned out to be Pilarski’s bare stomach.

She was “entirely undressed” and had been “bitten all over,” he said.

“It can only be the hunt,” he said.

According to local newspaper Le Courrier Picard, the hounds were hunting deer.

Hunting associations have however denied that they could be to blame.

The Paris-based French hunting association said in a statement that “nothing shows the involvement of hunting hounds in the death of this woman”.

France has more than 30,000 hunts with hounds in total and the association stated that “these dogs are trained to hunt a particular animal and obey man in all circumstances”.

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/cartesfrance.fr
But while the map – created by cartesfrance.fr – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.
 

 
 
 
Here are some of the key points.
 
1. Everyone hates Parisians
 
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
 
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
 
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
 
 
2. Staycations rule
 
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
 
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
 
 
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
 
3. Northerners like a drink
 
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
 
 
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
 
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
 
 
4. Poverty
 
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
 
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
 
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
 
5. Southern prejudice
 
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
 
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
 
 
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
 
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
 
For more maps that reflect France, head to cartesfrance.fr
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