MARTINEZ, Calif. (Bay City News Service) — Steven Hayashi, a 52-year-old Concord, Calif. man arrested July 22 after three of his pit bulls attacked and killed his 2-year-old step-grandson, said in an emotional jailhouse interview in Martinez July 23 that one of the dogs had shown previous signs of aggression.
The attack happened at the family’s home at 1785 Trailcreek Court at about 8:45 a.m., Concord police said.
The toddler, Jacob Bisbee, 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, Concord police Lt. Jim Lardieri said.
Two other pit bulls were in the yard but were not involved in the attack, Lardieri said.
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 the morning of July 22 he somehow got in.
Jacob’s 4-year-old brother was the first to notice the toddler was missing. The 4-year-old 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. It was too late,” Hayashi said.
Jacob was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Hayashi said he believed that the largest dog, “Kiwi,” initiated the attack.
According to Hayashi, all of the dogs had been raised to be family pets and were gentle and friendly except for Kiwi.
“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.
The dogs had never displayed any aggression toward humans, though, and everyone except Jacob and his brother could handle them without a problem, Hayashi said.
He 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.
Even the people at animal shelter didn’t know Sadie was pregnant, Hayashi said.
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.
“A lot of people out there think I deserve to be put in jail or that I did it on purpose,” Hayashi said.
“I am not one of those people who breeds dogs for fighting or for a pack,” Hayashi said. “These are supposed to be house pets.”
Around the time the pit bulls killed the Chihuahua, Hayashi, his wife and his two children, ages 19 and 13, moved from Antioch to Concord.
Shortly after the move, Hayashi’s stepson moved into the house as well, with his two sons, the 4-year-old and Jacob.
“My wife wanted me to get rid of the dogs because of the children,” Hayashi said.
But, he said, he loved the animals and didn’t have the heart to have them euthanized.
“If I knew this was going to happen I would have (had them euthanized),” he said.
Police arrested Hayashi the afternoon of July 22 on suspicion of child endangerment and possessing a mischievous animal that causes death, Concord police Lt. Jim Lardieri said. He is being held in county jail in Martinez on $120,000 bail.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office will review the case this week.
Contra Costa Animal Services officers seized all five dogs after the attack and have since destroyed them, Hayashi said.
Contra Costa County Supervisor Susan Bonilla released a statement July 22 saying that the county’s animal services department has no record of any complaints or previous problems involving the dogs.
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 that morning.
“My grandson is dead. It really doesn’t matter how he got into the garage,” Hayashi said.