Suicide ruled in Port Huron dog mauling

Tom Greenwood and Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A 22-year-old Port Huron woman who was fatally mauled last week after climbing a fence into a yard holding two pit bulls did so knowing the dangers she faced, according to authorities.

As result, the death of Rebecca Hardy was ruled a suicide Wednesday.

“She climbed into a fenced off area knowing these are vicious dogs in the past, and in the past, avoided this area,” said Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic. “She jumped over the fence and subjected herself to this attack. These are purposeful actions.”

Hardy had attempted suicide in the past, Dragovic said. He said prior to Hardy entering the yard with the dogs, she was kicked out of the house over an argument with her fiance about drugs and alcohol.

“There was some problem and some dispute,” he said. “We don’t know what went through her mind.”

It will take another week or two to determine if Hardy had drugs or alcohol in her system, Dragovic said.

The manner of Hardy’s death “was determined based on information given to police by witnesses during the investigation,” Port Huron Police Captain Jeff Baker said.

According to Ray Jankowski, an investigator for the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office, Hardy died of multiple injuries. The Medical Examiner’s Office would only release cause and manner details Wednesday.

According to police, Hardy entered the property at about 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at a home in the 1700 block of 10th Street.

Hardy, who lived one block from where the attack occurred, suffered extensive injuries to her head, face and neck. She was taken to a Beaumont Hospital, where she died Thursday night, according Lt. Scott Pike.

Authorities have said the dogs’ owner has been cooperative during their investigation and hasn’t been charged. Police said Wednesday they are working with the St. Clair County Prosecutor’s office to determine if charges are warranted in the case.

The dogs — a pit bull and pit bull husky mix — were housed and quarantined in a St. Clair County animal shelter pending the investigation.

The dog attack in Port Huron came one day after a pit bull snatched a 4-year-old boy, Xavier Strickland, from his mother’s grasp and, along with three other dogs, mauled the child to death on Dec. 2 in Detroit.

The attack occurred at about 12:25 p.m. in the 15500 block of Baylis near the Lodge Freeway Service Drive and Fenkell on the city’s west side.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged 41-year-old Geneke Antonio Lyons of Detroit in connection with the mauling. Lyons owned the house where the dogs were kept in the backyard.

A GoFundMe page has been created to assist with Hardy’s funeral costs.