Thousands Ask for Dogs’ Lives to Be Spared After Boy Loses His Hand

Four-year-old Austin Brown put a sock over his hand and stuck it under a fence in his Utah backyard March 3, according to Layton Fire Battalion Chief Jason Cook. Tragically, one of his neighbor’s two Huskies bit the sock—and tore off and swallowed the boy’s hand and a portion of his arm.

The boy was flown by helicopter to a Salt Lake City hospital and underwent surgery. Davis County Animal Care and Control took the dogs, Polar and Bear, away and is holding them on a rabies quarantine for 10 days. Afterward, a judge will decide whether the dogs will be euthanized.

“There’s a severe injury to a human, so we are doing a dangerous dog investigation, which could range from nothing being done up to and including euthanasia,” Rhett Nicks, director of animal control, told ABC4 News.

More than 195,000 people have signed a Care2 petition urging the dogs’ lives to be spared. The petition has made national news.

“My best friend’s dog was involved in an unfortunate accident,” wrote Jessica Nusz, who started the petition. “This situation is unfortunate on both sides … There are fears that Bear might be put down and he doesn’t deserve to be put down for this freak accident.”

The boy’s mother, Hope Brown, disputes the fire chief’s and Nusz’s account of the incident. According to her, one of the Huskies dug a hole under the fence and attacked her son in his own backyard.

The dog “bit Austin’s hand and then attempted to pull him back under the fence,” Brown wrote in a Facebook post on March 5. “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.”

Neither the fire chief nor any of the first responders who arrived on the scene have commented on Brown’s version of the incident.

In ABC4 News and KSL news stories about her petition, Nusz said it was definitely Bear who bit off the boy’s hand. The Husky provides emotional support for her friend, a young woman who suffers from depression and anxiety. Nusz said her friend was distraught over the incident.

Euthanizing the dogs, Nusz said, would only compound what’s already a tragic situation. “It was just a freak accident and the neighbors know it was a freak accident, especially if you’re not careful with big dogs,” she told ABC4 News.

People from around the world, including Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, have signed Nusz’s petition. “I really hope all these signatures convince investigators to save these dogs,” she told KSL.

Take Action

Join over 195,000 people have and sign and share the petition urging Davis County Animal Control to spare the dogs’ lives.

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. Youll find Care2s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.


Photo credit: Save Polar and Bear/GoFundMe


Greta L
Greta L13 hours ago


Beryl L
Beryl L5 days ago

I agree with one past member's comments concerning this incident. The parents should have been more observant in what their son was doing in the backyard putting a sock on his hand and under the fence certainly looks like a Toy. This was not the dogs fault or the boys fault he didn't know any better. But the parents should have been paying closer attention and watching the youngboy. I certainly hope that bear is saved.

Mia B
Mia B5 days ago

Signed. Thanks.

tammy C
tammy C9 days ago


Paulo R
Paulo Reeson10 days ago

signed. ty

susan a
susan a10 days ago

The dogs wouldn't know what it was,rat mouse etc...Why, i ask did the child do this,teasing the dogs maybe?It's a very sad situation but the dogs are innocent !!(victims of their instincts )I hope people use empathy here.

Renata Kovacs
Renata Kovacs11 days ago

Thank you for sharing,,

Renata Kovacs
Renata Kovacs11 days ago

Think it is sad news on both The little boy and the Dogs,
it seems a shame to kill the Dogs..seem hard to judge anyone here,,


Michael F
Michael F11 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

Leo Custer
Leo C11 days ago

Thank you for posting!