A 9-year-old girl riding her bike near her family’s Detroit home died after being mauled by a pack of dogs, despite neighbors rushing to her rescue.
The girl, identified as Emma Hernandez, was attacked as she pedaled in an alley on the west side of Detroit at about 4 p.m. on Monday, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department told The Detroit News.
Emma was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan and died from her multiple injuries. The medical examiner ruled her death as an accident.
Some neighbors, one of whom threw bricks at the dogs, tried to stop the mauling, police said.
A neighbor, Edward Cruz, told Detroit TV station WXYZ that he grabbed a brick and threw it at the animals after he rushed out to find three large dogs were attacking the girl.
“They all ran and I stood next to the girl to make sure she was okay and I yelled out for help,” said Cruz.
Deborah Golden, a woman who lives down the street, told the news outlet she came out of her house to help the girl, who was lying in a pool of blood unresponsive with severe injuries to her throat.
With a crowd gathered around the girl, Golden performed CPR and instructed the girl’s father to help stop the rapid bleeding while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.
“I seen the little girl flat in her back with the bite marks and part of her neck hanging off,” Golden told WXYZ. “I started CPR and I had the dad grab the neck and hold it.”
At the time of publication, a GoFundMe page created to cover Emma Hernandez’s funeral expenses had raised nearly $27,000.
Emma “was a wonderful child who touched the lives of those around her,” her family wrote in a tribute on the fundraiser page. “She leaves behind a family that loves her immensely.”
“Emma dedicated her life to school work, playing and enjoying life with her family,” they wrote. “Quick to get a head start on school work. She was such a smart and silly girl. Loved to be outdoors and play with her cousins. A beautiful soul inside and out.”
“The entire team at Detroit Animal Care and Control is devastated by this tragedy and our hearts and prayers go out to the family of this child,” Detroit Animal Care and Control said in a statement, adding that it is “very likely” that the dogs will be euthanized, due to the severity of the incident.
The owner of the dogs, a 33-year-old man whose identity has not been disclosed as of this time, was arrested shortly after the attack.
Deborah Golden told Detroit News she noticed at least one of the three dogs that killed Emma roaming free days earlier. She said other neighbors also complained about these unleashed animals.
“The kids have a right to play,” said Golden. “You’ve got to keep these [expletive] dogs in the house.”