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

DETROIT (August 23, 2019) – A 33-year-old man is facing multiple charges after police say his three dogs mauled a 9-year-old girl to death in southwest Detroit.

Authorities say Emma Hernandez was riding her bike around 4 p.m. on Monday near her home when the man’s three dogs knocked her off her bike and attacked.

Several neighbors who witnessed the attack tried to help by shooting at the dogs and throwing a brick. One of the dogs was shot and the other two were eventually seized by animal control officers.  The girl’s father and 12-year-old brother were among those who tried to save her, but the girl could not be saved.

One neighbor described the scene as “the worst thing she had ever seen.”

Family members say Emma frequently rode her bike up and down the street and was likely trying to turn around in the alley when she was knocked off her bike, mauled and killed.

READ MORE | Man facing murder, other charges after 9-year-old girl killed by dogs

The owner of the dogs, Pierre Montgomery, has been charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and for having a dangerous animal causing death. He was given a $2 million cash surety bond, with no 10% during his arraignment Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors say Cleveland had left the dogs outside in a yard that wasn’t secure with a garage door open to the alley and that he knew the dogs were dangerous.

Prosecutors allege his dogs also killed multiple puppies two weeks before the mauling. Neighbors reportedly made complaints about loose dogs in the area in the past and in March of 2018, Detroit Animal Care and Control received calls about two of the three dogs that would later attack Emma. The girl’s father had also reportedly spoke with the owner of the dogs within a week of the attack.

“The defendant was harboring dogs he knew to be vicious, that he knew to be aggressive” the assistant prosecutor said during the arraignment.

Detroit Animal Care and Control says they have all three dogs in their possession, and it’s likely they’ll be euthanized.

Patrick A. Salvi

Patrick A. Salvi concentrates his legal practice in several limited areas primarily involving a trial practice in cases concerning serious personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and mass torts. Mr. Salvi has achieved record-breaking jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, including serving as lead counsel in obtaining an Illinois record-high $148 million jury verdict and a Lake County record $33 million jury verdict.

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