LAYTON — A very tough 4-year-old boy is in stable condition at a Salt Lake City hospital Monday morning after a dog bit off the boy’s right hand Sunday.
Police and medics were called to a Layton home around 3:30 p.m. Sunday when a father discovered that his son’s right hand was bitten off by a neighboring dog, according to Layton Fire Battalion Chief Jason Cook.
The boy had a sock on his hand when he 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, Cook said. 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 Sunday evening. He is last known to be in stable condition and remains at Primary Children’s Hospital.
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.
Cook said the department gets medical calls from dog bites roughly half a dozen times a year, but not typically this severe.
“I’ve never seen a dog bite this bad,” Cook said.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every year, and nearly 885,000 seek medical attention for their injuries. They also estimate that 30,000 people have reconstructive surgery.
On average, most of those injured from dog bites are children, according to the WHO.
Since the attack, the two dogs in the neighboring yard, both Huskies according to Cook, have been taken into custody by the Davis County Animal Care and Control for quarantine.
The organization’s director, Rhett Nicks, said that his department sometimes takes animals into its care for a 10-day quarantine period to determine whether the animals show symptoms of certain diseases, like rabies.
Nicks said more often than not, the quarantine is done in the family’s home, but sometimes the animals are taken to Animal Care and Control for observation.
While he couldn’t comment directly on the case in Layton, Nicks said his office typically handles three to five dangerous dog investigations per year. He said that bite cases in and of themselves are not common, and a bite of this severity is even more rare.
Nicks said that his department usually works with pet owners to find resolutions or ways to prevent incidents from reoccurring. If deemed necessary, animal care and control has the ability to go before a judge and request that animals be taken away from their owner.
Nicks said that situation rarely occurs and is not typical occurrence.
The case is still under investigation as of Monday afternoon, Nicks said.