Petition aims to save lives of two dogs after Utah boy loses hand

Posted: Updated:
LAYTON, Utah (AP) -

More than 85,000 people have signed a petition in support of two dogs taken by animal control in Utah after a 4-year-old boy had his hand bitten off.

The boy stuck his sock-covered arm in a gap between the ground and a solid vinyl fence in his backyard Sunday, Layton Fire Battalion Chief Jason Cook said. The husky bit off the boy’s entire hand and 2 to 3 inches of his arm, Cook said.

A helicopter flew the boy to a hospital in Salt Lake City, where he had surgery, Cook said. He’s doing well and is expected to survive, officials said. Authorities couldn’t find his hand and are almost certain the dog ingested it, he said.

Medical personnel and animal control officials briefly considered putting down the dog to retrieve the hand for reattachment, but the surgeon determined that wasn’t a viable option, Cook said.

The husky will be quarantined for 10 days, said Rhett Nicks, director for Davis County Animal Care and Control. It was the animal’s first reported bite, Cook said. Animal control was holding another husky that lives at the house but wasn’t involved.

Nicks told ABC 4 it is possible the huskies, named Polar and Bear, could be put down.

"There's a severe injury to a human," Nicks said. "So, we are doing a dangerous dog investigation which could range from nothing being done up to an including euthanasia."

Jessica Nusz, a friend of the dogs' owner, said the owner relies on the dogs for support and called the incident a "freak accident."

"Bear, who was playing with what he thought was a toy, 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," Nusz wrote in a petition to save the pups. "This situation is unfortunate on both sides."

GoFundMe page for Polar and Bear has raised $400.

It’s not known if the dog owner will face consequences. The dogs were properly fenced in at the house in a neighborhood in Layton, a city of about 80,000 residents about 25 miles north of Salt Lake City, Cook said. Both families had recently moved in, he said.

Cook said he doesn’t know if the boy was right-handed or not but that he should be able to adapt because he’s so young.

“He’ll kind of grow into his dexterity,” Cook said. “But it’s certainly life-changing. It’s just a sad turn of events for the young, little guy.”