Baby's face eaten by pet ferrets
Parents face charges after pet ferrets eat unprotected 1-month-old child’s face.
US: Three ferrets attacked an unattended baby strapped into a car seat and reportedly ate parts of the one-month-old girl’s face, leading to the baby’s parents facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child, according to

The parents of five children, Burnie Fraim, 42, and 24-year-old Jessica Benales were each charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child after their pet ferrets ate their baby’s nose, upper lip and cheeks.

Social services failure?

The child was attacked in the living room of the couple’s home after three pet ferrets escaped a mesh cage. A subsequent investigation found the house to be lacking in food and infested with insects. In addition, both the parents and all five of their children have developmental disabilities, and three social services agencies were monitoring them at the time of the attack.

The father claimed that it wasn’t their fault, laying the blame squarely on the ferrets. He told the local TV news station that the baby looked like it “didn’t have a face”.

Local police say that the baby will survive. The ferrets were all destroyed.

Bad dogs for kids

Are dangerous dogs really dangerous?

Would you adopt a dangerous dog?

Pets and babies

A family pet that has previously shown no sign of aggression may respond differently when a baby arrives on the scene.

If the pet presents a danger to the baby, it should be kept separate to the child and gradually introduced (if at all). Some pets are not suitable when it comes to direct interaction, including an animal which has an aggressive nature/history of attacking children or adults. Venomous snakes and other exotic pets may also not be suitable around babies.

Some pets are too sensitive/small to be around very young children as they may be injured when handled or they may be inadvertently trodden on.

Of course, it is possible to train a dog, for example, to be able to assimilate a baby into the household, just as a child needs to be shown how to handle a pet.

If in doubt, always take precautions to protect your child and pet against harm.

These articles have some helpful tips for expectant parents on how to prepare your pet for a baby:

7 tips for when cat meets baby

11 tips for when dog meets baby

Dogs and cats meeting babies for the first time

The top 5 family pets

What tips do you have for parents when it comes to pets and babies?

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.


Want to know what your baby looks like and what you can expect at this stage?




Smart pregnancy & Parenting Workshop

If you have a bundle of joy on the way, don’t miss the Mysmartkid & Baby Sense Pregnancy & Parenting Workshop with parenting experts Dr Welma Lubbe and Kath Megaw as speakers. Book today!

See more >


Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.