A 22-year-old mother deliberately climbed a fence to a backyard and allowed herself to be mauled to death by vicious dogs on Thursday in Port Huron, authorities said.
Rebecca Hardy died at a hospital with extensive injuries to her face and neck. The death was ruled a suicide from injuries caused by multiple dogs mauling her, according to the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“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.”
He said his office’s investigation shows Hardy had recently been kicked out of her house and had attempted suicide in the past. A toxicology report is still pending, but Dragovic said it wouldn’t matter if she were intoxicated: “If (drugs or alcohol) were a factor in general behavior, it still does not eliminate the purposeful act of climbing into the dangerous area.”
After the attack at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday, Hardy was taken to Lake Huron Medical Center and later flown to Beaumont Hospital, where she died, the Port Huron Times Herald reports. The two dogs and a pit bull-husky mix puppy were euthanized the next day.
Hardy had an 18-month-old daughter with her fiancé, Matthew Grattan. He told the Times Herald that he finds it hard to believe that she would do anything to harm herself.
“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.”
Grattan said he’s trying not to pay attention to the controversy surrounding Hardy’s death.
“It’s so much about the pit bulls that it seems like it’s not so much about my fiancé anymore,” Grattan said.
Investigators have said Hardy climbed over a fence into a backyard at 1721 Tenth Street in Port Huron, where she was attacked first by a pit bull and then by a pit bull-husky mix. A witness attempted to stop the dogs from attacking Hardy. The dog owner eventually was able to subdue the dogs and provide aid to Hardy.
Dragovic said he didn’t immediately know whether there were signs Hardy resisted the dogs’ attacks at any point, as one of his doctors had conducted the investigation. He also said that she lived nearby and would have been familiar with the area.
“This is not a situation like the kid that was attacked by similar kinds of dogs out on the street,” Dragovic said, referring to a Dec. 2 incident in Detroit where a 4-year-old boy was mauled to death after dogs escaped their home. In the Detroit case, the dogs’ owner is charged with murder.
A dog is led from a 10th Street home Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, after an attack that left a female victim with extensive injuries. Beth LeBlanc/Times Herald
The Port Huron Times Herald contributed to this report.