Rebecca Hardy, 22, died of extensive injuries to her face and neck on Dec. 3

By Tara Fowler
Updated December 11, 2015 05:00 PM
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A young Michigan mother who was mauled to death by her neighbor’s dogs last week committed suicide by climbing into the area where the canines were contained, PEOPLE confirms.

Rebecca Hardy, 22, died on Dec. 3 after she was taken to a nearby hospital with extensive injuries to her face and neck. Her death was ruled a suicide by the Oakland County Medical Examiner.

“These were attack dogs. These were vicious dogs in an enclosed space,” Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “She obviously was aware of that, because she climbed over the fence to subject herself to this threat.”

Dragovic added that Hardy knew the dogs were dangerous and had, in the past, made an effort to avoid them, CBS News reports. “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.”

The two dogs involved in the mauling were put down after Hardy’s death, according to The Port Huron Times Herald. A pit bill-husky mix puppy was also euthanized.

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Hardy leaves behind her fiancé, Matthew Grattan, and their 18-month-old daughter. Grattan told the Times Herald that he doesn’t agree with the medical examiner’s assessment. “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.

But Dragovic has said his office’s investigation showed that Hardy had attempted suicide in the past. A toxicology report is still pending, but Dragovic says it wouldn’t matter if Hardy was under the influence.

“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.

The Port Huron Police Department tells PEOPLE they have no further comment on the matter.