Mother on trial in boy’s pit bull mauling death
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Maureen Faibish either neglectfully left her 12-year-old son home alone with deadly pit bulls or was a frazzled mother preparing to move and was frustrated with a belligerent boy she couldn’t control, lawyers said Monday.
Faibish went on trial for felony child endangerment in the death of her son, Nicholas, who was fatally mauled June 3 last year. She could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
Faibish took her daughter to a school picnic and left her son alone in a dank garage filled with bags of garbage, rotten food and a plugged toilet, prosecutor Linda Moore said in opening statements in San Francisco Superior Court.
Photos were shown of the filthy converted recreation room where Nicky was told to stay and play video games until she returned. She told him to prop a shovel against the broken door and not to go upstairs, where Ella was in heat and the male dog, Rex, had grown increasingly agitated in his spurned attempts to mate.
“She left him home alone knowing he had to be separated from the dogs,” Moore told the jury of nine women and three men. “She begged him to go with her so he wouldn’t be home with the dogs. He refused.”
Faibish returned to the apartment about 3 p.m. to a scene of “unbelievable horror,” she said.
The hallway, walls and doors were covered with blood and Nicky was dead on the floor of an upstairs bedroom with both dogs on top of him, according to testimony.
A firefighter who left the scene shortly after Nicky was declared dead said she encountered Faibish outside the apartment where she was sobbing, face-down on the sidewalk.
“The boy’s mother looked me in the eye and asked if her son was still breathing,” Janice Hoaglin said. “I told her, ‘No, ma’am. Your son is dead.’ … She said, ‘It was all my fault. I should not have gone to the picnic.’ She knew the dogs were trouble.”
Faibish showed no emotion throughout the day, though she occasionally dabbed her face with a tissue.
Defense lawyer Lidia Stiglich told jurors that the Faibishes were a hardworking, loving family and the mauling incident was just “one page ripped from the story of this family.”
Faibish stayed behind with three children and the two 70-pound dogs for about six weeks while her husband looked for work in Oregon. The family planned to move three days after the attack.
Nicky was a willful boy with a learning disability and little interest in school.
“The dogs loved the kids and the kids loved the dogs,” Stiglich said. “There is nothing about what occurred that morning … that would have given anyone any inkling of the horror that would occur later.”
Testimony was expected to continue Tuesday.
San Francisco was the site of the fatal dog mauling of Diane Whipple, who was killed in 2001 in the hallway outside her apartment by a neighbor’s two 100-pound-plus Presa Canarios.
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