Sometimes, when children die in horrible accidents that could have been avoided if the parents had been responsible, I feel that the child’s death is punishment enough for the parent, and that imprisonment would be redundant. In the case of Maureen Faibish, however, who killed her son by pitbull, I think the possible ten year sentence she would receive if convicted isn’t long enough:
The mother of a 12-year-old San Francisco boy mauled to death by the family’s pit bulls goes on trial today to defend herself against charges that she put her son’s life in jeopardy by leaving him alone in a basement, with no working phone or toilet, next to a room where the dogs were kept.
Faibish told police she had lectured Nicholas, who had chronic learning disabilities, for half an hour about staying away from the pit bulls before leaving him in the basement on Lincoln Way with snack food, video games and the family’s pet reptiles and rodents. She said she had told him to prop a shovel against the door to keep the dogs away.
“I put him down there, with a shovel on the door,” Faibish said in one interview. “He had a bunch of food. And I told him, ‘Stay down there until I come back.’ Typical Nicky, he wouldn’t listen to me.”
Police Sgt. Brian Devlin, a canine officer who responded to a 911 call from the home, said he had to shoot and kill the female pit bull, Ella, just to get inside. He could hear Faibish screaming, “My child is dead!”
Devlin confronted the male dog, Rex, in a hallway, then saw Faibish covered in blood, he testified. She had been giving Nicholas mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, police said, and told Devlin, “Forget the dog, save my child!”
Inspector Tom Walsh told the grand jury he had surveyed the basement where Faibish had left the boy. There were reptiles and rats in cages, the television was still on and a video game was hooked up to it, Walsh said.
There was a bowl of cereal and milk, and the refrigerator was filled with moldy food, some juice and beer, he testified. Otherwise, there was no food.
The toilet was broken, surrounded by dirt and mold and had not been flushed, Walsh said.
Inspector Tony Casillas testified that the only way to get to a working toilet was to leave the basement and walk past the room where the dogs were kept. There was no working phone in the basement, he said.
Faibish conceded that the basement bathroom was so foul she would not use it herself, said Casillas, who interviewed her a few hours after the boy died. “She said that it was always broken and that it was horrible, meaning that it was very, very unsanitary. And it certainly was, by my observation,” Casillas said.
I just have no words for how disturbing I find this story. I hope that the San Francisco jury hearing this case doesn’t go all wobbly and treat this woman as a victim rather than a horrible perpetrator.