A man has been arrested for manslaughter after his sheepdogs mauled a picnicking 20-year-old student to death.
The badly mutilated body of Simona Cavallaro was found in a pine forest in Montefiorino, in the southern Italian region of Calabria, in August last year.
Now shepherd Pietro Rossomanno, 45, has been arrested for manslaughter.
He is reportedly being kept under house arrest on order of the investigating judge at the Court of Catanzaro, at the request of the local Public Prosecutor's Office.
Rossomanno is reportedly the owner of a flock of sheep and the sheepdogs that allegedly mauled the young student to death.
Woman was picnicking with friend before attack
The young woman was having a picnic in the forest on the day of her death. She reportedly came across a flock of sheep and goats that were being protected by 12 dogs, which allegedly attacked and killed her.
Ms Cavallaro was ripped apart by the dogs, according to local media reports, which state that she died of blood loss. Her body was found with lacerations to her lower limbs, head and pelvis.
The young woman was reportedly with a friend, who managed to find shelter inside a nearby wooden structure later determined to be a church, but Ms Cavallaro was not so lucky.
An autopsy was conducted on the 20-year-old's body and it concluded that the cause of death was irrefutably attributable to the numerous injuries she sustained as a result of being attacked by the dogs.
Shepherd allegedly ignored rules
Investigators determined that the shepherd was allegedly illegally allowing his flock to graze inside a designated picnic area.
The 45-year-old man is also accused of having arbitrarily allowed his animals onto land owned by the Municipality of Satriano and on which he was not permitted to allow them to graze.
Rossomanno also stands accused of having allowed his dogs to watch over his flock in his absence, of having failed to monitor the dogs' behaviour, and of having failed to call them back after they became aggressive towards the young woman.
The prosecution alleges that his conduct was negligent and that he showed a complete disinterest in the basic rules set up to regulate shepherding.
The criminal proceedings are currently in their early stages, with a formal investigation now expected to be launched.
Manslaughter in Italy carries a penalty ranging from six months to five years in prison, with the possibility of aggravating circumstances leading to the sentence being extended.
It was unclear at the time of writing if the shepherd had been formally charged.
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