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January 26, 2015

Parents charged in ferrets' mauling of baby

A Darby one-month-old was mauled by three ferrets Thursday

Crime and Courts Attacks
01232015_ferret_house_SV Google/StreetView

The home at 309 Poplar Street in Darby Borough.

The parents of a baby mauled Thursday by three ferrets while strapped into her car seat have been charged.

Burnie Fraime, the father, and Jessica Bernales, the mother, were charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child in Delaware County Court, NBC Philadelphia reports.

The baby, identified by 6ABC as one-month-old Skyy Isabelle Fraime, had been left unattended in a car seat on the floor of the same living room where the three ferrets were kept caged in an enclosure made of fabric and soft mesh when the mauling occurred on Thursday in the 300 block of Poplar Street in Darby Borough, according to local media reports.

The TV station said the child suffered severe injuries to her lips, nose and other parts of her face, and underwent surgery on Thursday at Children's Hospital.

6ABC television reported the child's father, Burnie Fraime, said the ferrets escaped while he was in an upstairs room taking a nap and that the mother, Jessica Benales, was in an upstairs bathroom when she heard the child screaming.

A man identified as the father showed WPVI the ferret enclosure on camera and explained how the animals may have gotten loose.

"We rigged it, we tied it, but more likely they broke that out, and they can get out. The one ferret was in there, but the other two ferrets were running around when the cops came," he said.

Darby Borough Police Chief Robert Smythe told WPVI: "This is the most horrific thing I've seen happen to a child in 45 years in this town.”

The couple have four other children under the age of five, who have been referred in the past to the county's child welfare agency and were staying with grandparents for the time being, according to WPVI.