Parents Charged in Infant's Ferret Attack

The parents of a one-month-old Delaware County, Pennsylvania, girl have been charged with endangerment after the family's ferrets severely mauled the baby's face.

The baby's nose, upper lip and cheek were eaten away in the attack that took place in a Darby home last Thursday, police said.

Burnie Fraim, 42, and 24-year-old Jessica Benales were each charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, court documents show. The couple has five children including the one-month-old girl.

According to police and the child's father, the girl was strapped into her car seat in the living room of the home along the 300 block of Poplar Road when as many as three ferrets mauled her. The animals had broken out of a mesh cage. The parents were upstairs at the time.

The girl underwent emergency surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and had stents placed into her nose allowing her to breathe, police said. Fraim told NBC10 last week his daughter will need to undergo several more surgeries to repair the damage.

All three ferrets were euthanized.

Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe called the mauling the "most horrific thing" he's seen happen to a child in his 45 years in law enforcement.

The home was infested with insects and lacked food, according to the chief. Three social services agencies were monitoring the family when the mauling took place.

Smythe said the couple had developmental disabilities and he questioned their ability to care for the children.

Fraim and Bernales were arraigned in Delaware County Court on Monday.

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