A Michigan woman, who was mauled to death by her neighbor’s two dogs — a put bull and a husky — reportedly committed suicide, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The news site reports that 22-year-old mother Rebecca Hardy deliberately climbed into her neighbor’s fenced yard, and allowed herself to be mauled by the dogs on Thursday, December 10 in Port Huron. A witness saw the attack take place and attempted to rescue her. When the witness was unable to help, he went into the dog owner’s home to request his help. The owner was eventually able to subdue his dogs and provided aide to Rebecca until the emergency responders arrived.
Rebecca was taken to Lake Huron Medical Center and later flown to Beaumont Hospital, where she succumbed to the extensive injuries she had sustained to her head and neck. The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her cause of death as suicide.
“These were attack dogs. These were vicious dogs in an enclosed space,” Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic said. “She obviously was aware of that, because she climbed over the fence to subject herself to this threat.”
— People magazine (@people) December 11, 2015
According to CBS Detroit, Rebecca knew her neighbor’s dogs were dangerous, and had previously gone to great lengths to avoid them. Dragovic said Rebecca knew what she was doing when she decided to climb over the fence, comparing her actions to someone jumping into a cage with lions at the zoo.
“She did climb the fence over and enter that space,” Dragovic said. “She did not get through a gate or through the front door of the house — and that clearly is a purposeful act. It’s akin to someone jumping into a cage with tigers or lions at a zoo.”
So, what led the young mother to take her own life? Rebecca had reportedly been kicked out of her apartment earlier that day, and scars on her body proved she had previously attempted suicide.
“We made a determination (as to) the manner of death,” he explained. “The cause of death is obviously established by the examination of the body, but the manner of death takes into consideration the physical circumstances that prevail and surround a particular deadly injury.”
While Rebecca’s toxicology report is still pending, Dragovic said the results will have no impact on his suggested cause of death by suicide.
“If [drugs or alcohol] were a factor in general behavior, it still does not eliminate the purposeful act of climbing into the dangerous area,” he said.
Rebecca Hardy died after being attacked by dogs last Thursday in Port Huron. On Wednesday the Oakland County… https://t.co/GGDeBDzVzM
— Dennis Baker (@PCFPB) December 10, 2015
Hardy leaves behind an 18-month-old daughter with her fiancé Matthew Grattan, who said he doesn’t think Rebecca was intentionally trying to harm herself that day.
“I, in no way, shape or form believe that she was looking to hurt herself on that day,” Grattan said. “She had a little girl. … She wanted us to be a family.”
The two dogs involved in mauling the Michigan woman were euthanized following the incident. St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said the dog’s owner gave consent for them to be put down. At the time, the dogs were still considered the owner’s property, and the St. Clair County Animal Control were hired to euthanize them. According to Donnellon, however, the dogs were put down before the owner submitted a letter rescinding his consent on Friday through lawyer Jayne Labuda-Szymanski.
“At that point, we stopped and returned the three puppies to the lawyer,” Donnellon said. “Regardless of the letter, the adult dogs would not have been returned to him. We would have sought a court order to move forward.”