A Michigan man whose three dogs reportedly killed a 9-year-old girl on Monday afternoon has been charged with second-degree murder for her death, prosecutors announced on Thursday.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Pierre Cleveland, 33, is also charged with involuntary manslaughter and having a dangerous animal causing death. Worthy said Cleveland left his three dogs in his backyard—contained by an unsecured, damaged fence and while a side garage door was open to the alley where Emma Hernandez was fatally attacked, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The two of the three pit bulls involved in Monday’s attack are in Detroit Animal Care and Control’s custody and will likely be euthanized. The Free Press reported that animal control was called to the neighborhood last year when two of the dogs were spotted walking around unattended. Authorities were reportedly unable to contact Cleveland at the time.
Cleveland’s dogs are believed to have slipped through his ramshackle fence and attacked Hernandez as she rode her bike behind her home on Monday. Neighbors reportedly fought the dogs off her by throwing bricks at them—and even firing guns. WDIV reported that the dog that was shot on Monday later died from its injuries.
Reports indicated that Hernandez’s father had confronted Cleveland about the state of his fence days before the 9-year-old was killed.
“On Aug. 19, 2019, before the fatal attack, it is alleged that the defendant left the dogs that he knew were dangerous, loose and unsecured in the backyard of his home while he went to a nearby store,” Detroit police wrote in their warrant package to prosecutors.
WXYZ reported Cleveland’s bond was set at $2 million and he wasn’t given the option to post 10 percent. He’s scheduled to return to court on August 30.
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[Featured image: Pierre Cleveland/Detroit Detention Center via WXYZ video screengrab/Emma Hernandez/GoFundMe]