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Connecticut woman whose dogs mauled toddler to death is charged

(Reuters) - A Connecticut woman whose three pit bulls fatally mauled a 20-month-old girl staying in her home has been charged with criminally negligent homicide and other offenses, police said on Friday.

Erica Hobdy, 30, of West Haven, Connecticut, had been babysitting her niece, Neveah Angel Bryant, on the evening of September 30 when authorities say that as many as three pit bulls owned by Hobdy mauled the girl inside a bedroom of Hobdy's apartment.

Nearly three months after the attack, Hobdy was charged in Milford Superior Court on Thursday with first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor, in addition to criminally negligent homicide, said West Haven Police Officer Bret Schneider.

West Haven is located a few miles south of New Haven on the central Connecticut coast.

It was not immediately clear what led to the charges against Hobdy this week. Schneider said police could not comment about other details in the case because it is ongoing.

On the Friday night the child was killed, Hobdy had placed her in a bedroom to sleep and closed the door, while keeping the pit bulls in a separate room, according to TV interviews she gave in the days after the attack.

She then walked to a nearby store for a drink, during which time the dogs somehow managed to get into the bedroom, she said.

Police, called to the building a few minutes later by a downstairs neighbor, said they arrived at the top-floor apartment to find the toddler on the floor, bleeding and unconscious.

The child was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, police subdued and removed the dogs, which were later euthanized.

The toddler's death was ruled an accident by the state medical examiner in October.

Schneider said that when Hobdy was charged this week, she already was incarcerated on other unspecified charges.

(Reporting by Zach Howard; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)

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