People contemplating suicide have several options to choose from: hanging, drowning, slashing one’s wrist or by gunshot. Rarely, if ever however, do people commit suicide by throwing themselves “to-the dogs”.
However, apparently this was the case for 22-year-old Rebecca Hardy when she was mauled to death by two dogs, a pit bull and pit bull-husky mix, in Port Huron, Michigan on December 3, 2015.
This fatal dog attack in Michigan was officially declared “suicide by pit bull attack.” According to the medical examiner overseeing the case, Hardy was aware of the danger of the dogs in question. The pit bulls lived nearby contained by a fence in neighbor’s backyard. Reports indicate that Hardy went to great lengths to avoid the dogs in the past. Hence, she probably knew the dogs were dangerous, and like most suicides her actions were probably impulsive.
Hardy was killed because of severe dog bite injuries inflicted to her neck and face. Her ears were ripped off, her esophagus was torn from her throat, and she lost portions of her nose and eyes. It appears that Hardy ended her life by giving herself up to the dogs. The medical examiner compared the circumstances of her death to someone jumping into a cage with tigers or lions.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Hardy had a history of suicidal thoughts, and that she was high on alcohol and marijuana and had traces of cocaine in her system at the time of the incident, according to toxicology analysis. Further details indicate that on the day of the incident Hardy had a heated argument with her fiancé, and then stormed out of the house. She then ran to her neighbor’s backyard which contained the pit bulls, about two blocks from her house. Thereafter, according to a witness, she started to climb the fence and the barking dogs pulled her into the yard and then she was mauled to death.
Was this suicide by a fatal dog attack?
Some doubt that the incident represented suicide, however. Hardy was the mother of a 18-month-old child and her fiancé described her as being “full of life”. Moreover, in the United States there have been hundreds of fatal dog attacks and in none has suicide ever been implicated. And Hardy had a pit bull of her own and had defended the breed on her Facebook page just two days prior to the incident.
More dog bite stories in Michigan can found elsewhere on this website.
Animal behavior expert, Richard Polsky, PhD, provides expert witness services to attorneys in Michigan litigating dog bite lawsuits. Contact Dr. Polsky or download his curriculum vitae.