The boy – not the dogs? – shut in basement

On June 14, 2005, in Crime, by Jody Ewing

What in God’s name is wrong with this picture?

I can’t imagine anything worse than losing one’s young child, especially when that child is killed by the family’s pet dogs. But the mother’s explanation of why it happened has so many gaping holes it seems incomprehensible that it had to happen in the first place.

Let me get this straight: the mother had “been so concerned” about one of the family’s two pit bulls that she “shut her son in the basement?” Not the dogs? And she went so far as to put a shovel against the door to keep him there? Hello? Did I read that correctly?

Adding insult to injury (not that injury can get much worse than death), the mother goes on to insinuate it was the 12-year-old’s own fault, saying, “Typical Nicky, he wouldn’t listen to me.” To even so much as “hint” that it was the boy’s fault for not listening goes beyond any type of child neglect I can imagine.

More unanswered questions: the mother, Maureen Faibish, said she ordered Nicholas to stay in the basement “while she did errands” because she “was worried about the male dog, Rex, who was acting possessive because the female, Ella, was in heat.” Excuse me? Did I miss something again? If she was so worried, WHY DIDN’T SHE TAKE HER SON WITH HER?

She goes on to contradict herself by telling the San Francisco Chronicle that her kids “got along great” with the dogs, and that they were never seeing “any kind of violent tendencies” from the dogs. Whoops. I missed something again. I could have sworn she locked the child in the basement because she was worried about the male dog!

But the final straw here (as if blaming the child weren’t enough) was her rationalization of her son’s death — that it was Nicky’s “time to go.” Yes, that’s right. That when one is born they’re “destined to go and this was his time.”

What a senseless, needless death. I don’t even want to think about what that child went through in his short life — not just the way he died, but what life must have been like with a mother like that.

He deserved better.

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