Mother of Layton boy who lost hand in dog attack talks about ordeal, offers thanks for outpouring of support

Davis County officials responded to a call of a dog bite in which a 3-year-old child was critically injured Sunday, March 3, 2019. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Nancy VanValkenburg

LAYTON, Utah, March 6, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The mother of the 4-year-old Layton boy attacked by one of a neighbor’s Huskies on Sunday, losing his hand and lower arm, is thanking people for their support and donations for her son.

“On Sunday, our son was involved in a brutal attack where a husky went under our fence and bit Austin’s hand and then attempted to pull him back under the fence,” the woman wrote in a social media post.

A note elsewhere in the post asks for privacy and anonymity, so we are leaving the woman’s name out. Several who commented on the post confirmed they are neighbors and close friends of the family whose son suffered the attack.

“Our baby lost his arm from the elbow down because it was ingested by the dog,” the post says. “He has multiple other bites up as well as severe bruising on his face and jaw and a black eye.

“We won’t get into all the details of his attack but to say that we are all struggling is an understatement. He had emergency surgery Sunday, another surgery this morning, and will have another Thursday for now. 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.”

The public post says those who are willing can donate through a charitable account called “Superman’s Army,” set up by the family’s neighbors. Those who wish to donate can do so at Golden West Credit Union, tagging account No. 3660062.

“You can donate through PayPal which is also linked to an account at Golden West for Austin,” the post says. “We’ve already had an amazing outpour of support from our neighborhood and community. We are just overwhelmed with the of love and support shown to us in this horrific time. Thank you.”

The statement, posted at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, had generated nearly 2,000 comments and 495 shares in its first 23 hours.

Commenters offered heartfelt sympathy or assigned parental blame, and many argued that the dogs lives should be spared, a decision that has not yet been made by Davis County authorities who are holding the dogs on a rabies quarantine.

Jessica Nusz, who says her friend owns the Huskies, Polar and Bear, has started an online petition to save the dogs. Bear is at the most risk, having been identified as the biter. The petition had draw 137,189 signatures as of Wednesday evening.

“My best friend’s dog was involved in an unfortunate accident yesterday where a little boy stuck his arm through a fence and he had a sock on his arm,” Nusz wrote on the petition site.

“Bear, who was playing with what he thought was a toy, he bit down too hard and didn’t see that there was a child on the other side of the fence. With him being a dog, he thought it was a game of tug of war and he bit down too hard and took a lower portion of his arm. This situation is unfortunate on both sides.

“And now both dogs are in quarantine at Davis county animal control. There are fears that Bear might be put down and he doesn’t deserve to be put down for this freak accident.”



  1. Why do people feel the need to take sides and assign blame when a tragedy occurs? My town of Layton experienced a terrible accident this past Sunday when a 4 year old boy had his hand and part of his arm amputated by a neighbor’s dog through their adjoining fence. Some blame the boy, some blame the parents, some blame the dog. It was a tragic event and instead of assigning blame, why can’t we come together as a community and simply provide support for those involved? We don’t have to take sides or feel the need to voice our opinion, when frankly, it doesn’t matter because this incident really won’t effect us. It may elicit an emotional response, but let’s be honest, you probably won’t be thinking about this is in a couple months. Let’s be compassionate towards the parents and boy whose lives will be forever changed. Be compassionate towards the dog and their family because they are hurting too. Do what you can to help, if anything, but please stop with the blaming and opinions. #peaceandlove

  2. If the dog took off the arm and were trying to pull him under the fence as the boy’s parents describe, he should the dog should be euthanized without question. That was a vicious attack. However, if the details are that the boy was somehow teasing the dogs through the fence with a sock on his hand and the dogs could not see the boy, then I would side with the dogs not realizing they were attacking a human hand and they should be spared.

  3. When a dog grabs a toy or what it thinks is a toy, should lay go as soon as it hears the screams of a child.
    If it does not it is either very aggressive or very hungry.
    So if it continues to bite even after testing human blood it is definitely too aggressive or hungry.
    This falls on the dog owners head.

  4. The dog isn’t at fault here. It is common sense for a parent not to let there kid stick there hand through a fence to the other side. I’ve lived with huskys all my life and they don’t attack people. If they bite it’s because they’re still a puppy and in that case you don’t stick your hand through the fence. In the Alaskan point of view it’s the parents fault for not keeping a closer eye on their child. No kid should ever put their hand through a fence at a dog is on the other side of. The dog doesn’t know you and can get scared easily by you putting your hand through their fence.

  5. Dogs surely arent as stupid as the friend of the dog is stating. Dogs know and can smell parts per million. Yeah acfriendly game of tug of war is rediculous. A bite well ok a mistake. But a vicious attack on a little boy until it ripped his arm off. Then it ate the severed limb. Come on why is there even a question of saving these vicious animals. If its necessary to keep them alive for the quarantine period to see if they have rabies. After that be done with it. This is a natural born killer and it may have kulked and ate the little guys whole body if dad wasnt there. Come on this dog has no place in society

    • The father left this child in the backyard alone with no supervision with Socks on his hands which is dangerous! How can the child play with no hands or get up if he falls? This is child neglect or abuse! The child put His arm through the fence with a sock on it! The dog was either threatened or thought it was a toy! The dogs look like puppies!

  6. I would like more clarity of the situation since the story confirmed by all parties and officers originally to the version the mother now gives contradict each other greatly.

    It is a great tragedy on both sides from the dogs owner having to fear euthanasia and the boy’s parents for seeing their baby in pain.

    But stories shouldnt suddenly change as it gains media attention. I am not blaming anyone for this freak accident. They were both in their fenced yards.

    How has the father gone from being inside during the incident to being outside beside the child and “tug-of-war” with the dogs under the fence? Now 2 dogs to blame. Bites are now located to the face when cops have said it was only to the arm. This is quite the curious change of events.

    Are statements now being changed due to media attention?

  7. I have to say the parents are to blame. Sorry but they knew better than to leave the child unattended. I don’t believe that the dog was on their side of the fence. Naturally the dog would of went for the face of the child. The child made a bad decision. I also believe the dog had to be worked up to grasp the child hand. The child had to of but his arm thru the fence. The fence is meant to divide property. You keep your hands over on your side of the fence and don’t mess with my dogs. The owners had their dogs on their property and had taken reasonable accomodations for their pets.


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