Dogs involved in fatal mauling euthanized
Two dogs and one puppy have been euthanized after a fatal dog mauling in Port Huron.
Port Huron Police Capt. Jeff Baker said the pit bull and Husky involved in the fatal attack on 22-year-old Rebecca Hardy were euthanized Friday.
Baker said animals involved in injury complaints that show a propensity for viciousness typically are considered for euthanizing.
“That’s a dog that’s not just protecting its domain,” Baker said, of the dogs that mauled Hardy on Thursday.
Hardy died at Beaumont Hospital shortly after she was found with extensive injuries to her face and neck in the fenced-in back yard of 1721 10th St.
Investigators believe Hardy climbed the fence and entered the back yard where the dogs were being kept.
Police have said a pit bull attacked Hardy. A witness attempted to help her. When he was unable to help, he entered the home and enlisted the help of the dog owner.
A second dog also attacked Hardy. The dog owner eventually was able to free Hardy and provide aid until the arrival of emergency personnel.
Hardy was taken to Lake Huron Medical Center, then flown to Beaumont Hospital where she died.
Baker said officials have found no history of prior animal complaints related specifically to 1721 10th St. or the two dogs.
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said the owner of the two dogs and four pit bull-husky mix puppies gave consent for the dogs to be euthanized. Donnellon said the dogs were considered the owner’s property at that point and the St. Clair County Animal Control was hired to euthanize them.
Donnellon said the two adult dogs and one puppy were euthanized before the owner submitted a letter rescinding the consent Friday afternoon 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.”
Death of mother, 22, who was mauled in pit bull attack is bizarrely ruled a SUICIDE as medical examiner says she climbed into their enclosure on purpose to get mauled
- Rebecca Hardy of Michigan died in hospital after she was severely injured by two dogs in the yard of Port Huron home on Thursday
- The dogs involved are believed to be a pit bull and a pit bull-husky mix
- Dogs were to taken to animal control where they were euthanized
- Their owner has not been taken into custody and is being cooperative, according to police
- The city medical examiner ruled the death a suicide, saying Hardy climbed over the owner’s fence and ‘subjected herself to the attacks’
- Fiance Matthew Grattan says there’s no way Hardy knew she would be mauled to death by dogs
- He also sticks up for the breed, saying calls to ban pit bulls in the area is ‘stupid’ and that he knows ‘countless pit bulls’ who would ‘never hurt a fly’
The death of a 22-year-old Michigan woman who was mauled by two dogs in a fenced-in backyard has been ruled a suicide.
Rebecca Hardy of Port Huron was found in the yard of a 10th Street residence on December 3 with extensive injuries to her face and neck. She died later in hospital.
The city’s Chief Medical Examiner ruled on Wednesday that Hardy, who had an 18-month-old daughter Molly, had taken off her shoes, climbed the fence to the backyard and ‘basically subjected herself to the attacks, which constitutes a purposeful act,’ reported the Times Herald.
The attack involved a pit bull and a pit bull-husky mix.
Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic said, according to the Detroit Free Press: ‘These were attack dogs. These were vicious dogs in an enclosed space.
‘She obviously was aware of that, because she climbed over the fence to subject herself to this threat.’
Hardy’s fiance, Matthew Grattan, admitted that the two got into an argument before Hardy left the house, but he says he doesn’t believe she would have knowingly entered an enclosure to be torn apart by two dogs.
‘I, in no way, shape or form, believe that she was looking to hurt herself on that day,’ he told the Times Herald. ‘She had a little girl … She wanted us to be a family.’
However, the medical examiner, Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic, concluded that there had been evidence that Hardy had been thrown out of her home before the attack.
She also said in an interview that Hardy had a history of trying suicide, according to the Detroit Free Press. ‘It’s a sad story, but these are the facts,’ she said.
The attack, on December 3, came just one day after a four-year-old boy was killed by four other pit bulls in Detroit.
Since then there have been repeated calls in the city to ban the breed.
But Hardy’s fiance wrote on Facebook two days after Hardy was killed: ‘Your stupid ban wont (sic) bring my beautiful fiancee back. When are you people gonna learn, its not the breed, its the people that teach them. I know countless pit bulls that would never hurt a fly.’
Hardy is said to have climbed the fence of the dog owner’s home around 4.45pm.
A witness saw her being attacked and tried to rescue her but was unsuccessful and went into the house to ask the dogs’ owner for help.
The owner was able to eventually free Hardy and give aid to her until emergency responders arrived.
The owner, who police say was cooperative, has not been charged with any crime.
Suicide-by-pit-bull ruling raises a number of questions
The savage killing of Rebecca Hardy by a pit bull and a pit bull-husky mix on December 3 in her neighbor’s yard in Port Huron, Michigan, was puzzling from the start. The bizarre case turned from mysterious to preposterous when the medical examiner ruled the barbaric attack as a suicide merely five days later.
Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic stated that Rebecca’s entering a yard with pit bulls was “akin to someone jumping into a cage with tigers or lions at a zoo.” He is correct in the comparison between the catastrophic damage these animals can inflict. His assertion, however, that Rebecca believed these dogs were killers and purposely climbed over the fence to end her own life by them isn’t logical and it doesn’t add up.
She had many pit bulls within her circle of friends and family – she did not equate pit bulls with death. According to Tracy Weaver, a resident in the neighborhood, these particular dogs escaped frequently. After close scrutiny of the property from the news report, it’s easy to see how. The yard is partially enclosed with a wood fence, six feet high at the most. But the other portion, not highlighted in the coverage as nearly as much, shows a short, dilapidated chain link fence, appearing tilted at an angle. The dogs could have easily gotten out again, and hauled Rebecca into the yard just like pit bulls did to four-year-old Xavier Strickland the day before in Detroit.
Xavier’s mother and neighbors witnessed his beastly abduction and subsequent dragging of his body under the gate 30 feet away, where a horrifying lethal mauling was forced upon him. If there had been no witnesses, like this case, many people would have also accused him of getting onto the property himself and provoking the dogs.
Perhaps Dr. Dragovic failed to realize how incredibly athletic and powerful pit bulls are, and that someone as petite as Rebecca would have no chance in a similar type of attack. Maybe he’s unaware these types of assaults aren’t unusual.
The young mother’s family doesn’t believe the ruling of suicide at all. They have shared with the media that she was not depressed and was looking forward to Christmas with her precious daughter. She was optimistic about the future and excited over the prospect of planning another baby with her fiancé Matt Grattan.
Previous suicide rulings by the medical examiner have been challenged, and Michigan has an above average rate for suicides according to CDC. In part of the explanation for Dragovic’s decision, he said Hardy had been suicidal in the past. Women that take their own lives typically do so in far less violent ways. Carbon monoxide poisoning and overdosing on prescriptions pills are common methods.
Merritt Clifton, the editor and investigative reporter of Animals 24-7, has been logging fatal dog attacks for 33 years, more than 600 of them in the U.S. and Canada, and more than 1,000 altogether. He said he has never before encountered a case ruled to be suicide. Yet the family and public are expected to believe this beautiful 22-year-old woman, so full of love and life, intentionally exposed herself to torturously being ripped apart and eaten alive in one of the most agonizing deaths possible? Proof beyond doubt is needed for such an absurd decision. What’s been presented so far is entirely speculative.
A suicide ruling would leave Rebecca’s family with a difficult basis upon which to seek justice and collect damages from a landlord and tenant who may be liable for her death.
The handling of this case has been suspicious as well. The name of the dog’s owner was not made public to the media like it was done in the fatal attack of Xavier Strickland. The name of the landlord was also kept secret. On the property record for the City of Huron, the owner listed is James Spadafore. He also owns about a dozen other similar rental homes.
I called Lieutenant James Spadafore at the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office to ask if he was the owner of the house. He said he wouldn’t comment on the case and that he didn’t know if I understood how state laws worked, but if I called the Sherriff’s Office again they would take legal action.
An additional twist is the involvement of pro-pit bull animal rights attorney, Jayne Labuda-Szymanski who owns, promotes and rescues pit bulls. The owner of the killer canines and their four puppies originally gave consent for the dogs to be euthanized. But at the eleventh hour a letter rescinding consent was issued through the lawyer. The two adult dogs and one puppy had already been euthanized. Jayne took the remaining puppies that were only three weeks old.
In Michigan, SB 239 was quietly being pushed through the legislature before Xavier’s killing. SB 239 passes an amendment to the state’s constitution to take away the rights of local governments to pass ordinances regulating any dogs by breed. The additional fatal pit bull attack of Rebecca the very next day was damaging to the agenda of the well-funded pit bull lobby.
Many questions are being asked by the public: Why the suicide ruling? What was the role of the pit bull lobbyists? Who are the owners of these killer dogs? Does James Spadafore or any of these individuals have a relationship to St. Clair County Sheriff’s office or Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic?
This story has gone international, and people around the world who are closely following it seek answers. Everyone responsible for this needless killing should be held accountable in order to provide Rebecca’s 18-month-old child with everything she needs in the future. Molly does not deserve to grow up believing her mother left her alone on purpose, and her family deserves to know the truth.
Rebecca Hardy’s GoFundMe Account
2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Port Huron Woman, 22, Fatally Attacked by Pit Bulls
Knowledge of Danger
UPDATE 12/10/15: A report from CBS Detroit cleared up many questions about the horrific death of Rebecca Hardy: It seems it was “suicide by pit bull attack.” Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic had earlier called the dogs “attack dogs,” but offered no explanation as to how he knew this. CBS Detroit states: “Dragovic said an investigation revealed that Hardy knew her neighbor’s dogs were dangerous and, in the past, had gone to great lengths to avoid them.”
“It’s akin to someone jumping into a cage with tigers or lions at a zoo.” – Oakland County ME Ljubisa Dragovic
Dragovic also left no doubt about how Hardy entered the yard. “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.” The manner of death (how the death arose) was notaccidental as it most commonly is in fatal dog attacks. Hardy’s death was ruled suicide because of her purposeful act of climbing into the yard with knowledge that these dogs were dangerous.
Appalling New Reality
It is no longer necessary to go to a major zoo to commit suicide by a horrific lion or bear mauling. A person can accomplish this same goal in a residential neighborhood at a home that keeps dangerous pit bulls fenced outside. This is a terribly sad reality and speaks volumes about the regularly crappy fences used by pit bull owners that are literally the only barrier between life and death. “Suicide by dog attack” is a manner of death ruling that we hope to never hear again.
American Pit Bull Terrier
The ‘bull and terrier’ type was originally developed in England in the early 19th century. The lineage goes back to the mastiff / molosser types, including what we now call the Olde English Bulldogge, that were used for bear-, bull- and horse-baiting from the 12ththrough the 18th century. This isn’t the bear-baiting we think of today, when hunters feed bears in order to bring them out in the open to shoot them. Rather, the bear, bull or horse was confined in a public arena where the mastiff ‘bulldogs’ would slowly tear them apart alive for the public’s amusement1,2,3,4,5.
The popularity of this ‘sport’ declined as education became more emphasized in urban society of the Industrial Revolution and literacy among the population grew (from about 30% in the 17th century to 62% by 1800)6. The ‘sport’ was banned altogether by Act of Parliament in 1835.
The lovers of blood ‘sports’ turned to dogfighting to satisfy their fancy, breeding the large, mastiff-type bulldogs to smaller working terriers to get dogs both smaller and more agile, easier to keep and to hide, but just as willing to attack and fight to the death. With the rise of the kennel clubs and the desire to distinguish dogs by looks and pedigree as well as by performance, this ‘bull and terrier’ type eventually divided into many official breeds. They all share the same ancestry and function, distinguishing themselves mostly by slight differences in appearance.
The term ‘husky’ refers to a variety of northern sled-pulling dogs, including Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Huskies, and the Samoyed. The variants that were used for Inuit hunting and pulling freight are larger, the ones used for races like the Iditarod are somewhat smaller. The racing Alaskan huskies are in fact mutts, a mix of the fastest sled dogs with the greatest endurance, created by Europeans and not by native northern peoples**.
Huskies of all kinds are happiest when they are working and exercising. They require daily exercise and activities such as running or swimming. If they do not get enough exercise they tend to become highly destructive – or they turn into escape artists. They do best in homes that have fenced yards for them to play in, though it remains important to give them enough exercise and mental diversion because it’s difficult to design a fence that can contain them if they get bored. They are considered the Houdinis of the dog world, loving to roam and easily climbing fences or escaping their kennels. Many Huskies enjoy recreational dog sledding or jogging to burn off extra energy.
POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG BREEDS
This is a list of dog breeds that have a history of being potentially dangerous to people, especially children. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness understands that any dog has the ability to bite or inflict serious harm to humans. This list consists of several dog breeds that have a higher than average number of recorded human fatalities. Please use extreme caution if you choose to bring one of these breeds into your home. Rental communities and homeowners insurance may restrict many of the dog breeds on this list due to the likelihood of a serious incident.
Pit Bulls, Mastiff, and Rottweiler lead in fatalities and are listed first. The rest of the breeds are listed in alphabetical order:
Pit Bull Terrier Family
- American Bulldog
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- English/Standard Bull Terrier
- Miniature Bull Terrier
- Olde English Bulldog
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff
- Dogo Argentino
- English Mastiff
- Fila Brasileiro
- Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff
- Great Dane/German Mastiff
- Presa Canario
- St. Bernard/Alpine Mastiff
2015 Dog Bite Related Fatalities in the U.S.
Updated after each fatality following fact finding research on Protect Children From Pit Bulls & Other Dangerous Dogs on Facebook
35 Dog Bite Related Fatality
27 by Pit Bull/Pit Bull Mix
2 by Rottweiler
1 by Golden/mixed breed
1 by American bulldog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Labrador mix
By Age :
By State :
NM – 1 death
MD – 1 death
FL – 3 death
IA – 1 death
AR – 1 death
PA – 1 death
W. VA – 1 death
TX – 5 death
SD – 1 death
AR – 1 death
GA – 1 death
NV – 1 death
IL – 1 death
OK – 3 death
NC – 2 death
OH – 1 death
SC – 1 death
AL – 1 death
CA – 3 death
WV – 1 death
NY – 2 death
TN – 1 death
MI – 2 death
Names and ages of the deceased:
Unidentified Native American – about 40 y,o. – Gallup, NM – Pack of Feral Dogs [1.2.15]
Eugene W. Smith – 87- Frederick, MD – 1 Pit Bull [1.7.15]
Declin Moss – 18 months – Brooksville, FL – 2 Pit Bulls [1.19.15]
Malaki Mildward – 7yrs old – College Springs, IA – 2 Pit Bull/Bull Dog Mix [1.22.15]
Fredrick Crutchfield – 63 yrs old – Johnson county, AR – Pit Bull [ 2.4.15]
TayLynn DeVaughn – 2 yrs old – Pittsburgh, PA – Pit Bull [2.22.15]
Roy Higgenbotham – 62 yrs old – WHEELING, W.Va. – Pit Bull [3.8.15]
Betty Wood – 78 yrs old – SULPHUR SPRINGS, TX – Rottweiler [3.12.15]
Julia Charging Whirlwind – 49 yrs old – WHITE RIVER, SD – Pending [3.14.15]
Detrick Johnson – 36 yrs old – JEFFERSON COUNTY, AR – 7 Pit Bulls [3.21.15]
Neta Lee Adams – 81 yrs old – WASHINGTON, GA – Pending [3.31.15]
Kenneth Ford – 79 yrs old – NYE COUNTY, NV – Pit Bulls [4.14.15]
Brayden Wilson – 2 months old – Dallas, TX – Pit Bull [4.19.15]
Gaege Anthony Ramirez – 7 yrs old – NEW BRAUNFELS, TX – Pending [5.2.15]
James W. Nevils III – 5 yrs old – Chicago, IL – Pit Bull – [5.25.15]
Jordon Tyson Collins – 3 yrs old – Lawton, OK – Pit Bull – [6.28.15]
Norberto Legarda – 83 yrs old – Pecos, TX – Pit Bulls – [7.2.15]
Joshua Phillip Strother – 6 yrs old – Hendersonville, NC – Pit Bull – [7.7.15]
Annie L. Williams – 71 yrs old – Shaker Heights, OH – Pit Bull – [7.12.15]
Carolyn Lamp – 67 yrs old – COWETA, Ok – 3 Pit Bull/1 Rottweiler – [7.24.15]
Porsche Nicole Cartee – 25 yrs old – SPARTANBURG, SC – Pit Bull – [8.22.15]
Cathy Wheatcraft – 48 yrs old – DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. – Pit Bull – [8.24.15]
Barbara McCormick – 65 yrs old – Autauga County , AL – Golden/Mix – [8.2.15]
Emilio Rios Sr – 65 yrs old – Riverside County, CA. Pit Bulls – [8.8.15]
Carmen Reigada – 91 yrs old – Miami, FL. – American bulldog,Rhodesian Ridgeback, Labrador mix – [9.22.15]
Lamarkus Hakeem Hicks – 2 yrs old – Martinsburg, WV – Pit Bull – [9.28.15]
Edgar Brown – 60 yrs old – OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. – Pit Bulls – [10.16.15]
Tanner Smith – 5 yrs old – Vidor, TX – Pit Bulls – [10.19.15]
Amiyah Dunston – 9 yrs old – Elmont, NY – Pit Bull – [11.8.15]
Anthony Riggs – 57 yrs old – Madison County ,TN – Rottweiler – [11.12.15]
Carter Hartle – 11 months old – MARSHALL, NY – Pit Bull – [11.15.15]
Xavier Strickland – 4 yrs old – Detroit, MI – Pit Bulls – [12.2.15]
Rebecca Lillian-Kay Hardy – 22 yrs old – Port Huron, MI – Pit Bull, Husky-mix – [12.3.15]
Maria Torres – 57 yrs old – Gridley, CA – Pit Bulls – [12.16.15]
Nyjah Espinosa – 2 yrs old – Miami-Dade, Fl – Pit Bull Type (American Bulldog) – [12.20.15]
On average in 2015 someone was killed by a pit bull every 13 days. Some of these pit bull attacks were from the family dog that was well trained and had never shown signs of aggression before. The only common factor in these severe and often fatal attacks is not abuse or lack of training, it is breed. Choose the breed of dog you trust the lives of your loved ones with wisely.