The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was mauled to death by the family’s pit bulls last June pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a charge of felony child endangerment.
After her arraignment, Maureen Faibish, who now faces up to 10 years in prison, was released on her own recognizance. She is scheduled to reappear in San Francisco Superior Court next week.
On June 2, 2005, Faibish found the bloodied, lifeless body of her son, Nicholas Faibish, in the family’s Sunset District apartment after running errands. She told investigators she had left her son alone with the two family dogs, even though one had bitten the preteen earlier in the day. Faibish said she shut Nicholas in the basement because she had been afraid the unneutered dog, Rex, would continue its aggression since it was attempting to mate with the female dog, Ella.
When charging the 39-year-old mother last June, District Attorney Kamala Harris said Faibish had put her son “in a situation that at least willfully, if not through criminal negligence, was dangerous to his health and lead to his death.”
Faibish’s two other children, son Christopher, 9, and daughter Ashley, 10, are currently with their father, Steve Faibish, in Oregon, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Raisa Akinshin, the family’s next-door neighbor at the time of the incident and the person who called 911 after hearing the mother's screams, said Tuesday that Maureen Faibish should be reunited with her children and not sent to jail.
“The woman lost a child, isn't that punishment enough? Let her go,” Akinshin said.
Among attorneys assigned to the case is Allison Garbutt, the District Attorney’s Office expert on canine cases. Garbutt was also on another high-profile dog-mauling case in 2001, when Diane Whipple, 33, was killed in the hallway of her Pacific Heights apartment building by two dogs that were known to be vicious. The owners were convicted of manslaughter.
The two cases, along with other high-profile pit bull maulings, led to state legislation, sponsored by State Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, that went into effect this year allowing cities to enact breed-specific dog regulations. San Francisco then passed a law requiring the neutering or spaying of The City’s pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes.