Step-Grandfather Blames Himself for Toddler's Fatal Dog Mauling

Three pit bulls attacked, killed 2-year-old boy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area

    The step-grandfather of a 2-year-old boy killed by the family's pit bulls says he blames himself for the toddler's death.

    Steven Hayashi, 52, was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of child endangerment and possessing a mischievous animal that causes death, Concord police Lt. Jim Lardieri said.

    Remorseful Step-Grandfather Talks About Fatal Dog Attack

    [BAY] Remorseful Step-Grandfather Talks About Fatal Dog Attack
    The man whose pit bulls fatally mauled his step-grandson talks from jail about the tragic incident.

    Hayashi's step-grandson, Jacob Bisbee, died after three of his five pit bulls attacked the toddler in the garage of the family's home at 1785 of Trailcreek Court at about 8:45 a.m. Thursday, police said. Hayashi was not at the house when the attack happened. Jacob was at home with his grandmother, his uncle and his 4-year-old brother when he walked into the garage and the three dogs attacked him. Two other pit bulls were in the yard but were not involved in the attack.

    Hayashi told NBC Bay Area in a jailhouse interview Friday morning that as far as he knew, the dogs were not vicious but he kept them in the garage because there were children in the house. He was in tears and could barely speak as he told reporter Christie Smith that Jacob's grandmother tried desperately to save the toddler's life after the vicious mauling.

    Remorseful Step-Grandfather Talks About Fatal Dog Attack

    [BAY] Remorseful Step-Grandfather Talks About Fatal Dog Attack
    The man whose pit bulls fatally mauled his step-grandson talks from jail about the tragic incident.

    Hayashi said the door to the garage was usually locked with a deadbolt that Jacob couldn't reach. The boy had never gone into the garage before, he said, but on Thursday morning he somehow got in. Jacob's 4-year-old brother was the first to notice the toddler was  missing. He has a learning disability and can't talk, but was able to communicate to his grandmother that Jacob was in the garage.

    "By the time my wife found him, the dogs had already finished  their attack." Hayashi said during the emotional interview. "It was too late."

    Hayashi said he believed that the largest dog, "Kiwi", initiated the attack. All of the dogs had been raised to be family pets and were gentle and friendly -- except for Kiwi, Hayashi said.

    "I never let Kiwi around my grandchildren because I didn't trust him," Hayashi said.

    About a year before the attack, the dogs attacked and killed his pet Chihuahua, "Ruby." Although nobody saw the pit bulls kill the Chihuahua, Hayashi said he believes Kiwi was the one that killed it.

    Hayashi is very remorseful over the attack and says he blames himself. But, he says, he should not face severe punishment because he has a clean record. He's being held on $120,000 bail.

    Hyashi said he had not set out to have five pit bulls. He got the  first dog, "Sadie," from an animal shelter and later discovered that she was  pregnant. Sadie had two puppies, Kiwi and "Jake." Sadie, Kiwi and Jake were  the three dogs that killed Jacob, Hayashi said.

    He said he procrastinated in getting Sadie spayed because he  didn't have the money and, a short time later, she got pregnant again. She  had two more puppies, "Max" and "CJ," which were kept in the yard. He didn't have the heart to get rid of the dogs, even though his wife feared for the childrens' safety.

    "Those dogs cost me way more than it's worth." Hayashi said. "They cost the life of a 2-year-old boy."

    Hayashi broke into tears as he described Jacob, who he said was a  gentle and loving boy.

    "He was a bit rambunctious and curious at times, but never rough,"  Hayashi said.

    Usually in the morning, Jacob would come into the master bedroom  and crawl into bed with his grandmother. Hayashi said he had no idea what  drew the boy into the garage Thursday morning.

    An ambulance took Jacob to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Nobody else was hurt in the attack. Animal control officers took all five dogs into custody and later euthanized the animals.

    Contra Costa County Supervisor Susan Bonilla released a statement Thursday afternoon saying that the county's animal services department has no record of any complaints or previous problems involving the dogs.

    Neighbor Linda Richardson told us she called animal control officers after Hayashi's dogs barked viciously at her and her granddaughters as they rode their bikes past the house one day. Richardson said nothing was done as a result of her complaint.

    "It's sad it took the death of a 2-year-old to make this happen." Richardson said.

    Bay City News contributed to this report.