updated 6/9/2005 12:43:05 PM ET 2005-06-09T16:43:05

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom indicated Sunday that he may propose limitations on pit bull ownership in the wake of last week’s fatal mauling of a 12-year-old boy.

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Newsom said he will meet Monday with animal control officials to discuss what steps to take to prevent future attacks. His comments came two days after sixth-grader Nicholas Faibish was viciously attacked in his home by one or both of his family’s pit bulls.

“We have to be realistic,” Newsom said. “You’ve got dogs that literally can kill. We’ve seen it demonstrated. If we can’t change people’s behavior and make them think what’s in their best interest, then that’s when government comes along and becomes a bit paternalistic.”

He said “having a pit bull ... and three kids is not acceptable because we’re not going to deal with the consequences of losing a life.” Nicholas Faibish was one of three children.

He said he currently has no specific proposal but a decision on legislative action would likely be made within a week. Mayoral spokesman Peter Ragone said a blanket ban is not being considered. A number of other possible restrictions will be discussed in the next few days, but he said it was too early to discuss details.

Authorities, meanwhile, were examining the Faibish family’s dogs as they attempted to reconstruct what went so horribly wrong Friday, when the boy’s mother found him in the family’s home covered with blood from multiple wounds.

Officials are still uncertain if both dogs were involved in the attack. Investigators conducted an examination of the body of the female pit bull, Ella, who was shot and killed by a police officer as he entered the home. The second dog, Rex, was examined at the shelter where he is being held.

Blood was found on Rex’s fur, but a spokeswoman for Animal Care and Control declined to disclose any other details.

Animal behavior experts have theorized that the attack could have been linked to different stresses on the dogs, including the family’s imminent move to Oregon and the possibility that the female dog was in heat, triggering increased aggression in the male.

The incident has rattled San Francisco dog owners. Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Deb Campbell said that several people arrived at the shelter on Saturday to drop off their pit bulls.

“The pit bulls that killed the boy were described as friendly, and people start looking at their friendly dog and asking if it could do the same thing,” Campbell said.

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