DETROIT – The owner of three dogs that fatally mauled a 9-year-old girl has been charged with murder, with bond set at $2 million cash.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Thursday that Pierre Cleveland, 33, will face charges of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and having a dangerous animal causing death.
Cleveland was arrested Monday and arraigned in Detroit's 36th District Court. His attorney, Emmett Greenwood, pleaded not guilty on his behalf.
According to the prosecutor, Cleveland allegedly left his three dogs in his backyard Monday behind a fence that was damaged and not secure. His home's garage side door was also open to the alley, where 9-year-old Emma Hernandez was attacked.
Prosecutors asked Magistrate Millicent Sherman to set Cleveland's bond at $100,000 while Greenwood asked for a 10% bond with a GPS tether.
But Sherman exceeded the request, setting Cleveland's bond at $2 million cash.
She also mandated that Cleveland not have contact with Emma’s family members, who were not present at the arraignment.
The hearing was short but emotional for members of Cleveland’s family, who cried out in the courtroom when prosecution alleged Cleveland knew his dogs were dangerous.
Cleveland, visible on a teleconference screen, hung his head throughout the process.
Greenwood told the judge his client has no prior offenses and acted negligently but not maliciously.
Greenwood said Cleveland no longer intends to live at the home where the mauling occurred and doesn't own the dogs anymore. Cleveland's dogs are in Detroit Animal Care and Control's custody and are set to be euthanized.
State prosecutors argued that Cleveland had known the nature of his dogs and still left them alone Monday, despite the dogs allegedly having killed a puppy in Cleveland's home a week before Emma's death.
Assistant prosecuting attorney Barbara Lanning said one of the dogs had also killed multiple puppies on July 29, and that Cleveland knew his backyard was not secure.
"The allegations are that the defendant was harboring dogs he knew to be dangerous, he knew to be aggressive," Lanning said.
'She just started living': Family devastated after Detroit girl, 9, mauled by dogs
While Greenwood told reporters after the arraignment that the $2 million bond was “outrageous,” he declined to comment further, citing respect for Emma and her family.
"(Cleveland's) family is just praying for that precious child," Greenwood said, "and we think at this time it would be inappropriate to answer any more questions involving this."
Cleveland's family members declined to speak to news media afterward and said they had been receiving death threats since the Monday incident.
Two of Cleveland's dogs prompted calls to animal control last year when a Detroit resident saw them wandering around their neighborhood. While animal control officers visited the owner's home at the time, they were unable to make contact.
Emma's funeral costs have been fully funded by a GoFundMe campaign that received attention from Detroit millionaire and Blight Authority founder Bill Pulte.
Family members will hold a vigil, public viewing and funeral services for the 9-year-old throughout the weekend.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit girl's dog mauling death: Owner charged with 2nd-degree murder