Warning: This story contains graphic details. Reader discretion is advised.
The victim, 49-year-old Mary Matthews, was found dead on the floor of her bathroom on Friday in Clearcreek Township, Ohio, according to police. She had cuts and puncture marks all over her body, and a chunk of flesh was missing from her ankle, according to a police report obtained by NBC News.
Her two dogs — a pair of large, thin Great Danes — were found in an enclosed deck at the home. Police said the deck was completely covered in feces.
Investigators say the dogs appear to have attacked Matthews but that she survived the attack long enough to get them under control and put them out on the deck. She evidently underestimated the severity of her injuries and did not call for help, according to the police report. Matthews eventually succumbed to her injuries.
“We got some preliminary results back from the coroner’s office, and the cause of death is being attributed to the dog attack,” police Chief John Terrill told local station WLWT.
The police report describes a gruesome scene at the victim’s home, which was reportedly littered with debris, including beer cans and medication bottles. There was blood on the walls and the furniture, according to the report.
Senior Air Force officers charged over ‘inappropriate’ fighter pilot nickname
‘Zombie’ virus revived after 50,000 years trapped in Siberian permafrost
Police also found evidence of several clothing changes and what looked like an attempt to clean up the blood.
Authorities say the victim had a history of alcoholism and that she took several prescription medications.
Police say the victim’s husband, Dale Matthews, and their son found her on Friday. Dale had been released from the county jail earlier that day.
It’s unclear when the dog attack happened, but the body was found on Friday afternoon.
Dale said he and his wife adopted the dogs two years ago and that one of them was “vicious” and had bitten several people, including him.
He told police he had tried to convince her to get rid of the dogs but she had refused.
Dale told WLWT that the story should serve as a cautionary tale for others who own a vicious dog.
“I wouldn’t take the chance at all because they’re a ticking time bomb,” he said.
The dogs will be euthanized, the Warren County Coroner’s Office told NBC News.