Three shepherd dogs escaped from their yard and fatally mauled a 50-year-old Greek woman in her garden near Thessaloniki, northern Greece on Sunday.
The woman was attacked at about midday in the village of Neochorouda – 10 miles (16km) northwest of Greece’s second-largest city.
Police said the dogs escaped through a hole in their owner’s fence about 80m (262ft) away and ran to the woman’s garden where she was working.
A man who police said is deaf-mute was helping her at the time – but was too far away and could not hear the screams.
Emergency workers arrived with an ambulance to treat the woman, who was severely mauled and bleeding heavily, but she was confirmed dead at the scene.
The 37-year-old dog owner was arrested and faces a prosecutor on Monday morning, and the dogs are being held in a kennel and will be put down.
According to Greek state broadcaster ERT, the woman’s two teenage sons – aged 17 and 18 – heard her screams but were too late to help.
Her ex-husband told the broadcaster the dogs were “huge, wild ones”. He said that they have chased people many times. “It is not the first time.”
The victim had lived in the area for 20 years and was a candidate in local elections.
Dog attacks in Greece are common mainly from strays
Dog attacks in Greece are common mainly from strays who create packs attacking humans. In 2017, a British woman was killed by stray dogs while on holiday.
Her body was found in a remote location in northern Greece two days after she made a distress call to her family.
More recently, an 85-year-old woman was hospitalized after being attacked by stray dogs. The incident took place at noon in the town of Katerini in northern Greece.
Initial reports said two stray dogs attacked the 85-year-old and bit her on the arm and neck.
And in August 2022 a British family was attacked by a pack of stray dogs on a mountain trail west of Athens. The father was seriously injured while trying to protect his child and two nephews who accompanied him.
Diane Chapman, of Greek Animal Rescue, said there was a “massive problem” with stray dogs in Greece and that the country had “some really good laws” but the authorities were not implementing them.
“They don’t believe in sterilizing, nobody euthanizes, and most shelters are awful – dogs starving, dying of diseases,” she said.