Dog owner charged with murder in mauling death of 9-year-old girl

Aug 23 (Reuters) - The owner of three dogs that mauled a 9-year-old girl to death in Detroit earlier this week was in jail on Friday, held on a $2 million bond on charges that include second-degree murder.

Pierre Cleveland, 33, was arrested and charged on Thursday with involuntary manslaughter and having dangerous animals, as well as the murder charge, several media outlets, including the Detroit Free Press, reported.

The child, Emma Hernandez, 9, was riding her bicycle near her home in Detroit on Monday, the last day of summer vacation, when she was attacked and killed by the dogs despite efforts by neighbors to save her.

Defendant's family cried during his hearing

One neighbor used a brick to hit the dogs and a second neighbor shot one with a pistol, media reports said.

Cleveland's family cried during his hearing on Thursday, where he entered a not guilty plea, media reported.

His attorney, Emmett Greenwood, asked the judge for a reduced bond, describing the $2 million set as "outrageous" because his client has no criminal record and was not a flight risk. The judge declined.

Cleveland's Detroit home is across the street from where the child lived, and news media reported that neighbors had long complained to the city about his dogs running loose through a broken fence.

A makeshift memorial of balloons, flowers and toy animals was setup in front of the child's home by well-wishers.

Memorials for the child were being planned for the weekend. 

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