A four-year-old Utah boy had his hand bitten off by a husky after he reached under a fence to play with the dog.
A fire official who spoke to reporters says there is no chance of reattaching the limb because it was “probably ingested” by the dog.
The boy, who has not been identified, is currently recovering from emergency surgery and in stable condition after he was airlifted to a Salt Lake City hospital.
Layton Fire Battalion Chief Jason Cook says police and medics arrived at a Layton, Utah, home around 3:30 p.m. Sunday when a father discovered his boy’s hand had been bitten off by a dog.
Cook told The Standard-Examiner that the boy had a sock on his hand when he reached under his neighbor’s fence to play with their two huskies, Polar and Bear. One of the huskies “bit the child’s hand about two to three inches above the child’s wrist and amputated it,” Cook said.
LFD EMS & UofU AirMed have transported a pediatric dog bite patient to Primary Children’s Hospital. Patient is stable but will require surgical intervention. @UofUAirMed @LaytonFYI pic.twitter.com/Hf7B76fgi9— LaytonFire (@Layton_Fire) March 3, 2019
The patient had reached through a fence attempting to play with the dogs when the bite & subsequent amputation occurred.— LaytonFire (@Layton_Fire) March 3, 2019
Emergency responders could not locate the boy’s hand after hours of searching.
“There is fear that it was probably ingested by the dog that bit him,” Cook said. “So at this point it does not appear that reattachment is going to be an option for us.”
Cook later told People that the boy displayed a rather striking resolve when he was airlifted to the hospital.
“[He] was a tough little boy, wasn’t even crying. He never even shed a tear in the helicopter.”
According to Rhett Nicks, director of Davis County Animal Care and Control, Polar and Bear were taken by animal control officials to be quarantined for 10 days. During that time, they’ll be monitored for signs of rabies.
“There’s a severe injury to a human so we are doing a dangerous dog investigation,” Nicks said. “We try to look at every situation that could determine the animal dangerous, as well as could mitigate the fact that the animal is dangerous.”
The homeowner was reportedly shocked by the accident, because it was the husky’s “first bite incident,” Cook told reporters.
“The homeowner says that the dogs are docile pets that have never demonstrated any aggression.”
But the incident has divided the community, with some saying that the dogs should be put down and others saying that the boy’s parents should have been paying closer attention.
This is NOT the dogs fault! There is no reason that these dogs have been taken into custody! They were not roaming free, they did not dig into the other peoples yard. The childs hand was covered in a sock placed under the fence. The fault lies with the child/parents.— Tina B (@tbrunnet) March 5, 2019
I saw a picture of the fence and its a solid vinyl fence where the dogs and kid couldn't even see each other. The gap the kid put his arm under was very tiny there's no way the dogs would know if something with a sock was a toy or a real arm.— Anna Magee (@AnnaMagee2) March 5, 2019
Curious to see if they verify the dogs were huskies. A husky is the sweetest most kid friendly dog ever. Even if a child IS taunting it, I can’t imagine a husky ever taking a bite much less ripping a whole arm off. Prayers for the child and his family, and for the dogs too.— Randall McGee (@McRandall432) March 4, 2019
Never an excuse for dogs to maim a child. They are vicious dogs and they need to be dispatched.— sunluvin Breed Safety Legislation (@doitseriously) March 3, 2019
Jessica Nusz, who knows the homeowner, started a GoFundMe campaign to help retrieve the dogs from animal control. The campaign has already reached its $400 goal. She also created a Care2 petition urging animal control officials not to euthanize the dogs.
“My best friend’s dog was involved in an unfortunate accident yesterday where a little boy stuck his arm through a fence and he had a sock on his arm,” Nusz wrote. “Bear who was playing with what he thought was a toy he bit down too hard and didn’t see that there was a child on the other side of the fence. With him being a dog he thought it was a game of tug of war and he bit down too hard and took a lower portion of his arm. This situation is unfortunate on both sides.”
“It’s difficult, I won’t lie. A lot of these cases are not cut and dry,” said animal control director Rhett Nicks, who added that euthanasia is rare and that such an action requires a court order. Moreover, the shelter has a “no-kill” policy.