LAYTON — Two dogs blamed for biting off a 4-year-old’s hand in Layton earlier this month have been turned over to the Davis County Animal Care and Control, according to a press release sent Wednesday afternoon.
Davis County Animal Care and Control director Rhett Nicks said in the release that the dogs were surrendered to the department, and citations levied against the dogs’ owners have been dropped, contradicting a previous press release issued Wednesday morning.
Officials are already in the process of finding an out-of-state animal rescue or animal sanctuary for the two dogs, Nicks told the Standard-Examiner. Nicks added that the dogs will not be euthanized.
In the first press release, sent around 11:15 a.m., Davis County Animal Care and Control indicated the dogs’ owners declined an offer from the county to have their dogs seized by the county and relocated to an animal shelter.
The county then cited the owners for possessing “dangerous animals,” according to the ordinance. Nicks said the citations were class B misdemeanors, which could carry a maximum potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Minutes after the first release was sent to local news outlets, Nicks received a call from the owners saying they would be willing to turn over the dogs to the county. This triggered the second press release to be issued, Nicks said.
The second press release, sent just after noon, stated the dogs were taken by the county to be placed in an animal rescue or sanctuary, and the citations against the owners were dropped by the county.
Nicks apologized for the confusion and said the information in the second release was accurate.
He added that the dogs have been kept at the Davis County Animal Shelter since the incident occurred on March 3.
Nicks said his heart goes out the child and the family who has suffered through this ordeal. He added that the owners of the dogs have been nothing but cooperative, and thanked them for their demeanor.
The controversy stems from an incident where a 4-year-old’s hand was bitten off by a dog in a neighboring backyard.
Police and medics were called to a Layton home around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 when a father discovered that his son’s right hand was bitten off, according to Layton Fire Battalion Chief Jason Cook.
Shortly after the incident, Cook said the child had a sock on his hand and reached under a vinyl fence into a neighbor’s yard, when a Husky bit the child’s hand about two to three inches above the child’s wrist and amputated it. The boy’s mother, Hope Brown, disputed that account in a Facebook post made Wednesday.
Brown said that one of the dogs stuck its head under her fence, and when her son reached out to pet the dog, it bit down on his arm, pulling his arm under the fence.
Upon hearing of the severity of the injury, a medical helicopter was called and instructed to stand by.
When medics arrived, the father had the child’s arm wrapped in a towel in an effort to slow the bleeding. Cook commended the boy’s father and said he did a great job to help stop the bleeding before medics arrived.
The boy was taken via helicopter to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he underwent surgery the same day.
Cook called the boy “super tough,” saying he did not cry while being attended to by medics on the ground or in the helicopter on the way to the hospital.
Roughly eight to 10 medics and police officers spent over an hour canvassing the dog’s backyard trying to find the boy’s missing hand. Cook said officials believe that the boy’s hand was ingested by the dog.
Nicks said that in all his years at with animal care and control, this case was by far the weirdest, most severe case he’s encountered.
“I really can’t imagine an injury like that,” Nicks said. “Tragic is the only word I can come up with to describe this situation.”
In her Facebook post, Brown said her son had his entire forearm bitten off, leaving just five centimeters below his elbow. Brown said that her son is home and out of the hospital, but he still needs around-the-clock care.
“If you have found it in your heart to have compassion for these dogs, find it in your heart to have compassion for our little boy,” she said in the post. “For our family. Keep us in your prayers, we need it.”
The family has set up a PayPal account to help cover medical expenses. Donations can also be made at Golden West Credit Union under an account called “Superman’s Army” with the account number of 3660062.