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Dogs that bit Layton boy’s hand off to be relocated

Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 19:51:07-04

LAYTON, Utah – A young boy is scarred for life after a horrifying accident, but Davis County Animal Control Director Rhett Nicks doesn't believe the dogs in question should lose their lives because of it.

"There was nothing clear cut in this case for us," Nicks said.

After more than three weeks of investigating, Davis County Animal Control still can't determine with certainty what led up to a tragic outcome where a 4-year-old boy lost his hand.

"I have a hole in a fence. I have nobody seeing what occurred. I have blood on both sides of the fence. I have a lot of things that add up to what occurred but don’t add up to necessarily telling you exactly what occurred," Nicks said.

First responders said the boy had a sock on his hand and was reaching underneath the fence when the attack occurred but animal control couldn’t confirm that, ultimately deciding it was best to relocate the dogs.

In a Facebook post, the victim's mother poured her heart out, saying in part, "This is NOT normal dog behavior. All the screaming from a grown man and a child and they wouldn’t let go? How is that normal dog behavior? We thank the lord they won’t be coming back and our child is safe again.”

"We couldn’t return the dog to the property due to proximity to the victim," Nicks said. "We couldn’t determine if there was one dog or both dogs involved in it."

At first, the dogs' owners didn't want to surrender them.

"They’re family pets. They have young children. The children love the pets," Nicks said.

However, faced with potential charges, leaving their pets' fate in the hands of a judge, they changed their mind.

"They decided to surrender the animals to us," Nicks said. "We never actually filed the charges. We just had citations that were written and starting the process."

The two dogs have been quarantined in the shelter since the incident and Nicks has spent significant time with them.

"I don’t see any aggression in them while I interacted with them, at least not towards humans. They’re definitely driven by their toys and what you play with. There’s no question about that," Nicks said.

Despite what he saw, Nicks doesn't believe these dogs should be anywhere near the victim.

"Our deepest sympathies to the child. It’s a tragic situation. It’s unfathomable. It really is," Nicks said.

The victim's mother says the family is trying to adjust to their new normal, describing her 4-year-old son as an emotional wreck. She says in her Facebook post, "He’s scared, he’s so angry. He can’t leave my side without panicking. Going from being a willful, sweet, happy, loving, and empathetic little guy to an angry and confused small child has been awful.”

"I keep getting asked if I was happy about the outcome. I don’t think there’s anything happy about this case to be quite honest. It is unfathomly tragic on both sides," Nicks said.

There is a PayPal account to support the victim's family and the mounting medical bills they'll be facing for years to come. You can donate here:

Pay Hope Brown using PayPal.Me

Go to and type in the amount. Since it’s PayPal, it's easy and secure. Don’t have a PayPal account? No worries.