SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A dog bit off the hand of a 4-year-old Utah boy after he stuck his arm underneath a fence to try to play with the animal, authorities said Monday.
The boy had a sock on his arm when he put it 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.
The boy’s father tried to limit the bleeding and comfort his son until emergency workers arrived. 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. Officials have not determined if the dog will be put down or listed as a dangerous dog, he said, with an investigation underway.
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.
It’s not known if the dog owners 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 (40 kilometers) 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.”
Last year, a 17-month-old girl in Wiscasset, Maine, was severely injured when her baby sitter’s boxer bit her face after she touched its back. The 8-year-old dog was taken in for a 10-day quarantine following the mauling.
Associated Press writer Joseph Gedeon contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show it was a solid vinyl fence, not a chain-link fence.
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