Stepgrandfather of mauled 2-year-old Concord boy: ‘I made a bad decision about keeping the dogs’ – San Jose Mercury NewsPosted: July 23rd, 2010 | Author: jason | Filed under: dog, wildlife | Tags: bad decision, boy, dog, Jose, jose mercury news, Mercury, news, old concord, san jose mercury, san jose mercury news, Stepgrandfather | No Comments »
CONCORD — A man whose pit bulls fatally mauled his 2-year-old stepgrandson expressed deep regret Friday about keeping the animals despite past violent behavior that included the killing of a family Chihuahua a year ago.
Steven Hayashi, 52, of Concord, spoke from jail about the death of Jacob Bisbee, who ambled into the family’s garage on Trailcreek Court on Thursday morning and was attacked by three of the family’s five pit bulls. Jacob died that morning at a hospital.
Hayashi was booked on suspicion of child endangerment and possession of a mischievous animal that causes a death and is being held on $120,000 bail. Prosecutors are expected to review the case early next week. All five of the dogs have been euthanized.
Hayashi’s wife, his 19-year-old son, and Jacob’s brother were at the house during the attack. Jacob’s father, Hayashi’s stepson, was at work.
Hayashi, who said he is not currently employed, was out with his 13-year-old son before coming home to the sight of police cars.
“I come home, my grandson is dead, and my dogs were responsible. I’m in jail, and my family might be persecuted or looked upon different than before,” he said, pausing and then adding, “I love children, especially my own grandkids.”
When he talked about Jacob, Hayashi’s eyes welled up and he started sobbing.
“He was a fun-loving boy. He liked playing with cars. That last (time) I saw him he came up to me and gave me a hug when I was cooking,” he said.
Hayashi said he and his wife looked after Jacob and his 4-year-old brother because the children’s father worked long days.
Although Hayashi said he made a tragic mistake keeping the animals around the two young boys, he doesn’t believe he should be jailed.
“I made a bad decision about keeping the dogs,” Hayashi said from an interview room at County Jail in Martinez. “I don’t take responsibility for Jacob’s death. However, I am responsible for not getting rid of those dogs when I should have.”
Hayashi said one or more of the dogs had killed his Chihuahua, Ruby, last year when he lived in Antioch.
“The reason I kept them is I didn’t have the heart to euthanize them” after Ruby’s death, he said.
A short time later, he relocated to Concord with his wife and two sons. About the same time, his stepson moved in, bringing along Jacob and his brother. The stepson is separated from the boys’ mother.
Until Thursday, Hayashi said he did not see anything wrong with having the animals — 1-year-old pups Max and C.J.; Kiwi and Jake, both 18 months old; and their mother, 3-year-old Sadie — living in the same house with small children.
He said all of the dogs except Kiwi, which he described as the aggressive one, were friendly around Jacob and his brother.
“Kiwi, that’s the one I didn’t trust,” Hayashi said, adding that he kept the children away from that dog.
Only Sadie, the dogs’ mother, was spayed. Hayashi said that he did not intend to own five pit bulls but that when he got Sadie from a pound in Lake County, neither he nor the staff knew she was pregnant.
Hayashi said he kept Sadie, Kiwi and Jake in the garage and let Max and C. J. roam free in the backyard. He let each dog free, one at a time, in the front yard, saying he was able to control them one-on-one without a leash.
He acknowledged neighbors’ claims Thursday that some of the dogs approached them aggressively, saying he did allow the animals to “explore” for a few minutes at a time when they were outside the house.
Hayashi said he is still trying to sort out exactly how Jacob got into the garage, which was usually locked with a deadbolt out of the boy’s reach.”Both me and my wife do not understand how he ended up in the garage,” Hayashi said. “This is the first time ever in the one year they stayed with us that Jacob has ever, ever gone inside the garage.”
The experience has left him with no affection for dogs of any kind. He said he once thought that owning the pit bulls, as long as he was careful, would not be a danger to his family. He has abandoned that thought.
“I used to think that way, too,” Hayashi said. “That’s what got me into this mess. Thinking they’re like regular dogs.
“I can understand a dog biting or nipping, but to maul somebody until he is dead, to tear out somebody’s face” shows pit bulls are particularly dangerous.
He said that is why he did not try to reclaim the animals after they were taken by animal services, effectively assuring that they would be euthanized.