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Police officers converge near a house where a 2-year-old boy was mauled to death by a trio of family pet Pit Bulls in Concord, Calif. on Wednesday, July 22, 2010. The toddler was attacked in the garage where the dogs were kept. (Sherry LaVars/Staff)

MARTINEZ -- A Concord man charged in his pit bulls' fatal mauling of his 2-year-old stepgrandson pleaded not guilty Thursday, as new details emerged that the dogs had previously killed more than one family pet.

Steven Hayashi, 52, was charged last week with felony child abuse or neglect, and owning a mischievous animal causing death -- both felonies -- in connection with the death of toddler Jacob Dylan Bisbee on July 22. This week, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office added a death enhancement to the child abuse charge.

Jacob was unsupervised when he walked into the garage at the family home and was mauled by three pit bulls kept there, prosecutors said. Hayashi kept five pit bulls at the home, and all were euthanized after the attack.

In a jailhouse interview July 23, a distraught Hayashi tearfully told Bay Area News Group that he regretted not removing the dogs from the home after the pit bulls showed prior aggressive behavior, including the killing of the family's pet Chihuahua sometime in the past year.

Prosecutor Mary Knox said Thursday that the dogs killed two other family pets in the same time period -- a parrot and an Akita, a large-breed dog who had poked its head into a room containing the dogs. The mauling suffered by the Akita was so severe that its head was torn off, Knox said.

The pit bulls also had showed prior aggression toward Jacob and his 4-year-old brother, Knox said.


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Hayashi was caring for the two young children during the day because their grandmother -- Hayashi's wife -- works a night shift as a nurse and routinely sleeps through the morning. The boys' father also lives at the residence, but he was not home at the time.

The attack occurred after Hayashi left home that morning to play tennis with his 13-year-old son. Hayashi neither woke his wife nor asked his 19-year-old son who was home to care for the young brothers, and he admitted to police that he failed to secure either of the two locks on the garage door before leaving, Knox said.

"Child neglect caused the death of his grandson," Knox said.

Hayashi had been in jail for two weeks before he posted a $120,000 bail bond on Wednesday. Knox said she will argue at a hearing Monday for a bail increase of $100,000 in light of the new charge enhancement filed this week.

Hayashi declined to comment to reporters in the courtroom Thursday, saying he had been advised by the Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office, which now represents him, not to talk to the media.