Mother of Layton boy whose hand was bitten off says dog came under the fence to attack him

The mother of a 4-year-old boy whose hand was bitten off by a neighbor’s dog thanked people for their “amazing outpour[ing] of support,” asked for donations to help with her son’s recovery — and shared a description of the attack that differs from initial reports.

The boy was injured Sunday afternoon. At that time, Layton Fire Battalion Chief Jason Cook said the child was in his family’s backyard; had a sock on his hand; reached under a vinyl fence to play with two huskies who lived next door; and one of the dogs bit with enough force to sever his arm.

According to a Facebook post by the boy’s mother, Hope Brown, the “brutal attack” happened when “a husky went under our fence and bit Austin’s hand and then attempted to pull him back under the fence. Our baby lost his arm from the elbow down because it was ingested by the dog. He has multiple other bites up as well as severe bruising on his face and jaw and a black eye.”

A separate Facebook post, written by a woman who said she was sharing additional information from the mother, said Brown’s husband was with the boy and tried to fight off the dogs. It said the boy was wearing mittens.

The director of Davis County Animal Control, Rhett Nicks, said his staff is continuing to investigate the boy’s injury and expects to meet with both the boy’s family and the dogs’ owner next week. As to Brown’s account posted online, he said: “I can’t comment on that. That, in and of itself, is evidence for us.”

The two dogs are in quarantine to determine whether one or both has rabies. An investigation is underway to determine if the dogs are dangerous, and the possible outcomes range from no action to an order to euthanize the pets.

Brown wrote that her son had “emergency surgery” on Sunday; another surgery on Tuesday; and a third surgery was scheduled for Thursday. “We can use all the prayers, support, and help we can get.”

“We’re asking for donations to help during Austin’s hospital stay so we can be with our baby. He’s going to be here a little while longer. Any other donations will go towards helping Austin and our family during this time and hopefully getting a prosthetic in the future. He will need one from the elbow down.”

Neighbors set up an account at Golden West Credit Union to benefit the family — “Superman’s Army,” account 3660062 — and there’s also a Paypal link to the account.

“We’ve already had an amazing outpour[ing] of support from our neighborhood and community,” Brown wrote. “We are just overwhelmed with the of love and support shown to us in this horrific time.”

An online petition calling for the huskies’ lives to be spared continued to gather signatures — reaching nearly 170,000 by Thursday afternoon. Jessica Nusz, who described herself as a “best friend” of the owner of the dogs, Polar and Bear, wrote that Bear “was playing with what he thought was a toy” and “didn’t see that there was a child on the other side of the fence” when he “bit down too hard.”