An investigation is underway after a 4-year-old Utah boy lost his right hand while playing with a neighbor’s husky in his backyard.

KTVU reported that the young child, whose name has not been released, put a sock over his hand and reached under a fence to play “sock puppet” with the dog when the husky bit off his hand and ate it.

Emergency responder Jason Cook called the incident unfortunate because the neighbor’s two huskies were properly fenced.


The child was separated from the animals by a 6-foot-tall vinyl enclosure. The fence is solid, and Cook said the dog would not have been able to see the child when it bit the boy’s hand and ripped it from his limb.

According to People, the horrific bite came as a complete surprise to the dog owners, who described their pets as “docile pets” that have never “demonstrated any aggression.”

This was the dog’s “first bite incident,” according to the pet owners. Paramedics were called to the scene on Sunday afternoon and rushed the child to Primary Children’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery to patch up his arm.


Cook said:

“He’s a tough little guy. He never cried the entire time in the ambulance or hospital.”

Authorities could not find the child’s hand and believe the dog may have “ingested” the limb.

Doctors amputated the lower part of the boy’s arm after the dog bite.

Kellie Henry, a neighbor who shares the same fencing with the homeowners, said the two huskies often bark at her children but didn’t recall any issues in past. Henry told KSL:

“I mean, I think any dog who has a hole right here would do that. But it’s scary to think about how easily it could have been my kid.”

The two huskies have been quarantined while authorities determine whether or not the dogs are dangerous.

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About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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54 Replies to “Boy Losses His Hand After Reaching Under a Fence to Play ‘Sock Puppet’ With Neighbor’s Dog”

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    I think the dog is the victim. They dont know what a sock puppet is. It looked like a toy or maybe intruder. Either way the dog did what he thought was best. The irresponsible parents are the ones who need investigating.

  • June 1 year ago

    You leave a 4 year old child unattended in the back yard? Really? Now an innocent dog has to suffer and die for the neglect of the parents. On another site it said the child’s arm was bitten but he was fine, not that the hand was severed. Too many conflicting reports here.

    • Arlene Leach 1 year ago

      I agree!
      The mother is saying what happened and she was not home!

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    The dog thought it was a toy, parents should not leave a 4 year old unattended . This is how so many children go missing. Sorry for the little boy bot that dog shouldn’t have to suffer.

    • Arlene Leach 1 year ago

      I agree!
      The mother is saying what happened and she was not home!.3

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    Dog’s ancestors are the wolf and they carry certain natural instincts, so every parent needs to be cautious when allowing children around dogs. I don’t know the dogs, but perhaps they were not being malicious, but they were doing what dogs do by grabbing something and sadly grabbed the boy’s hand. It concerns me too that this 4 year old was not supervised. My friend’s unsupervised grandson who was also 4 encountered a man who came into their fenced back yard trying to abduct him. Fortunately in this case their German Shepherd who had been sleeping unnoticed laying in the yard sprung to life chasing the man out of the yard.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    Three replies, three people more worried about the dog’s future than the little boy. That’s the world we live in now in 2019. Keep judging the parents harshly too, guessing none of them have kids or grandkids and could write a book on parenting.

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      I am very sorry this little guy had to go through this.If the little guy would have had parental supervision this would not have happened! I have raised 2 children into their 40’s and I do have grandchildren.Never have they been endangered in any instance as this.They were supervised!These dogs did nothing wrong.They were protecting their property as dogs will do.

  • Amy Burress 1 year ago

    The dog was in its yard separated as it should be. Child was unattended at 4 YEARS OLD!! Child stuck its hand under the fence with a sock on his hand like it knows what a sock puppet is?? This dog is not at fault! Child’s parents are period point blank. Yes it is sad this child lost his hand, its awful, but the dog isnt to blame.

  • connie s hutton 1 year ago

    Pardon the pun, but I am on the fence on this one. In one respect the parents were not supervising, but how many times have we all let our 4 year old play outside in a fenced area for just a minute as we ran back in the house for something? All this took was a second. And if your being honast, you’ve been guilty. On the other hand(the pun again) the dog should not be euthanized because of it. Although does make one wonder how hard that dog had to bite to sever the hand. Too many unanswered questions? I have a female rottie, and couldn’t imagine her biting down that hard, evan while playing tug of war. But you never know. This is a slippery slope.Im glad im not in the position of the parents nor the dog owners.

  • Wilma Sliwiak 1 year ago

    Dog’s brain not wired to recognize sock puppet on child’s hand. The thing is moving, it’s on the ground, smells like a living thing. Mmmmmm edible. Dogs are great, often protective, but they don’t perceive anything the way humans do. Humans need to understand this.

  • Lawrence D Knight 1 year ago

    The boy arm was torn off just above the hand, that is not just a bite and tug, that is a bite and shake. as the police said it is an sad event, child in back yard playing hearing the dogs and wants to play with them, dog seeing a socked hand come under the fence see’s prey and goes for it. what if it was your cat would you defend the dog. from your comment you don’t give a dam about the boy who no longer has a hand, People First, Pets Second.

  • Robin Croft 1 year ago

    Dog sees sock and plays tug of war. About 95% of dogs in this country would do the same. Not hard to see how a small 4 year old could lose his hand. Parents left child unattended long enough for this to happen. Dogs were in an enclosure. Not the dog’s fault!

  • kim Sasso 1 year ago

    Definitely NOT the dogs fault, my dogs play tug of war with balls stuffed in socks, they pull hard and don’t let go, they thought it was a game, it is so sad that the dogs have to pay the price of adults that let children do whatever they want or are unattended, all these parents that let their children jump, pull, poke, sit on dogs etc are just waiting for an accident to happen, every dog has it’s limits, just like people. Prayers for healing for the little child. Be responsible humans, be kind and teach children respect and responsibility.

  • Tammy Gosselin 1 year ago

    Husky’s pray on small animals, it was most likely thinking it was some type of small animal. To me the dog was doing what it thought was right, keeping its own area/land safe for its self and its owners. I feel really bad for this young boy, but where was his parents? I believe the dog was doing just what it should have been doing, keeping its yard safe. They were in a fenced in area. Prayers to this young boy.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago


  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    Dog did not play tug of war. He ripped off the entire hand and wrist. Did you not hear the comment that the dog trainer made. He will probably do it again. The dogs were properly fenced, that is true, and that doesn’t matter. The boy matters. The boy was also properly fenced and don’t tell me that everyone watches their 4 year old every second when they are in what we see as a safe environment. I am a dog lover, but I love people far more! I have pets and would be so sad if this happened and I had to put my pet down. But in this instance, I would put them both down for the safety of people.

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      This is one trainer and he is probably a relative! I wish this little guy nothing but the best!The boy stuck his hand under the fence to play with the dogs his father should have been supervising him(dad was inside the house),mom was not home.There are parents who supervise their children 24/7.The dogs did nothing wrong.

  • KHB 1 year ago

    People aren’t more concerned with the dog than the child!! The point is: the child’s hand was trespassing into the dogs’ territory, not the other way around. So, the dogs should not be held responsible at all. You can’t put the blame on a 4-year old who doesn’t know better. So, who is responsible for the 4-year old’s actions? HIS PARENTS! All the blame goes on the parents (or whoever was SUPPOSE to be “watching” the child).

  • KHB 1 year ago

    To “Anonymous” who said she’d put her dogs down for the safety of people: You are so wrong in blaming the animals in this instance. You don’t deserve your dogs if that’s the best you can do for them.

  • Jan 1 year ago

    So at this point no one has said anything g about the dogs being euthanized. All they have said is that they are being held to determine if they are dangerous. This is a horrible incident but the fact is things like this could happen. If you reD the article it says that the dogs were completely fenced and they could not see the child. It also says that the dogs have never been know to be dangerous. By the way the little boy is also allowed to play in his own backyard. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that bad things can happen and it is NO ONE’s fault. Why does everyone try to assign blame and pass judgement?

  • KHB 1 year ago

    To Connie Hutton: NO ma’am I have NEVER left my 4-year old kid unattended in a fenced yard with dogs on the other side of the fence!! That is careless and naive!! PARENTS FAULT.

  • KHB 1 year ago

    Good points, Jan. I think the assigning blame is happening because when dogs bite people, unfortunately, they are usually labeled as dangerous and killed. One comment, though, yes, the child has the right to play in the back yard but, he should have been supervised at that age.

  • Judy 1 year ago

    Please don’t put the dogs down !! I am so sorry this happened, but I really feel like the dog thought the sock covered hand was a toy. It’s so unfortunate that this happened, but it shouldn’t be considered a vicious attack by the dog and the parents shouldn’t be blamed for not watching the child playing outside .

  • Cindy 1 year ago

    The minute I heard the first report of this tragic tale I knew right away there was more to the story. I have a Husky and she is the most gentle and patient dog ever! I am sorry the child was injured. I am sorry the child’s parents were not more vigilant in watching their child. This dog was in his own yard and saw what it perceived to be a toy coming under the fence…maybe the dog even thought it was a rat or rabbit. Whatever was in the dog’s mind we cannot know, but the dog holds no blame. It is an animal that acted totally on instinctual drive. This dog should be returned to the owners asap.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    I am sorry but if this story was that the dog did the same thing to a adult the response we would be totally different. The dog was only protecting his property. This is 100% the parents fault. Who leaves a 4 year old outside by themselves. He had to be unsupervised for a more Than a few minutes to get a sock put it on his hand lay on the ground put his hand under the fence. Come on people I fell terrible for the child it’s not his fault. It’s also Not the dogs fault. Parents should watch their children better that’s all there is to it. I pray the child heals quickly both physically and emotionally.

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      The dogs and the child should not be held accountable for it was the parents supervision that was lacking.The dogs never left their domain.SAD though the little boy went into the domain and their was no parental supervision.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    I feel terribly bad for the child but it wasn’t the dog’s fault. Anyone who owns a husky or one that is remotely part husky knows they are very high prey driven dogs. There should have been a discussion with the child about animal safety and precautions. They are old enough at 4 to understand safe and unsafe. Yes and no. Simple as that.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    not dog it the mom or dad who was not watching their child out back in fence yard which next door had 2 dogs and he put his hand under fences dogs were doing what dogs do bite cause they didnt know what that was at fence on their side my opinion

  • brenda k satterfield 1 year ago

    it is both family’s fault the fence should of been built so that nothing can get under it..that falls on fence owners. when you are a dog owner and you know young children are on other side of fence,it is dog owner who should of kept his side secure ,so nothing could get in or out. i agree with the trainer the dog that did this should be put down

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    As a dog owner my animals are fenced and a sign stating dogs on the property. My very friendly dogs will protect there property it they feel threatened. And as a grandmother I would not allow a 4 year old to be alone in a yard it’s not anyone’s fault . It’s a horrible accident and that’s it.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    This is horrendous but is not the dog’s fault. The dog was simply being a dog while the little boy was simply being a little boy. The boy’s parents should have been paying closer attention to him. I pray that the boy heals both physically & emotionally.

  • Tamra 1 year ago

    Where were the boy’s parents? Not dog’s fault

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    Where does it say the child was unattended.
    It doesn’t.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago


    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      Dogs did not leave their property! Mother of baby austin brown .Trys to explain what happened and was not even home.Go figure how many different stories can you tell with out being present.I feel nothing but heart felt sympathy for this baby (austin brown) but the dogs were in their own domain.They did not not go into the browns property,they do not deserve a death penalty!

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    What an unfortunate situation all the way around. It’s not the dogs fault and it is absolutely no fault of the child. Now the little boy’s life will be impacted forever. The parents were obviously letting their son play in the fenced back yard not expecting something like this to happen. What a tragedy. I have a 120 lb protection trained (service dog) German Shepherd. I know for sure he would not rip the limb from a child (or anyone else) if they stuck their hand under my fence. No way. A nasty bite is one thing, but to literally rip his hand off? That’s some pretty serious aggression….Hard to believe the owner had no idea this was a possibility. Huskey’s overall are not the best family pets (kids or no kids). They are working dogs bred to pull sleds and live in cold weather. I just read an article on Facebook yesterday about shelters having an overload of abandoned Huskeys in WA state – people are literally dumping their dogs on the street… So sad : (

  • Donna Johnston 1 year ago

    It is not the dogs fault !! It was fenced in properly as it should be. Its truly sad that this happened to the little boy but I fault his parents. You dont leave a 4yo alone for many reasons. Praying for the little boy and praying for the fate of the dog. He was just reacting on instinct.

  • MariaRose 1 year ago

    Without blaming either party, this story leaves out a few details, specifically how long had this sock puppet game been going on. Even if the child was monitored by a parent while outside in the yard, shouldn’t the supervising parent have at least questioned/ called/ talked to the child about staying away from the fence side near the dogs? To have engaged the dogs in this game, there must have been a good amount of time of interplay tug of war between the child and the dogs. On the side of the dog owners, the story doesn’t mention whether they were home or not, but if they were, did they look out at the dogs as to why they were staying by a certain section of the fence, even if they couldn’t see the bottom of the fence? I get the impression that the boy had been engaging in this activity multiple times prior to the incident where his hand got torn off and neither party had reacted until he got seriously hurt.
    As far as I am concerned both parties were liable for lack of observation.

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      So are you saying the dogs have no right being in their own yard and the dogs were at fault for the lack of parental supervision and the baby had every right to enter and threaten or play with the dogs who had no idea what was in their territory and the father had every right not to supervise a 4 year old?

  • Parent and dog owner 1 year ago

    You have a fenced in yard for your child to enjoy. You have a fenced in yard for your dog to enjoy. As a parent and dog owner I know from experience, you let them out TO ENJOY! You never EXPECT ANYTHING LIKE THIS TO HAPPEN! With a dog, YES you should be mindful of holes in the ground around your fence simply as a worry of your dog escaping… do they happen? ABSOLUTELY.. dogs dig, animals dig, erosion… Do children stick their hands in holes? ABSOLUTELY! Do children want to play with the dogs that HAVE LIVED NEXT DOOR and they have heard playing over there? OF COURSE! They don’t fear them.. have never had a reason! Who is at fault? Neither and Both! Both for not taking care of the hole.. both for not watching the situation.. both for not intrucing the child to the danger of the dog? WHY? then the child may grow up afraid of all dogs? Owners felt there was no danger for their dog. Not introducing the dog to the child to learn the scent and voice that maybe it would had learned as friendly. You can go both ways on this. In the end, I am sure the parents are going to win on this one though as the dogs always get the bad rap over a human being. Next time, pour concrete around the perimeter to avoid holes I guess.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    this is very sad all around but there is no fault on dog or child now the dog trainer i fill is a idiot how can he say that about the dog it was the whole setting why this happened this is what is called a accident leave the dog live and pray for the child

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    It’s very sad and I truly feel bad for this poor boy but at the end of the day this dog had no idea there was a child’s hand inside that sock and couldn’t possibly be held responsible for just being a dog. I’m sure these parents knew there was a hole underneath the fence

  • Matt 1 year ago

    I’ll be honest: if it were my son, that dog would have been shot. And the law would have been on my side if it were here in Ohio.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    Where were the boys parents! I have read at least 100 articles on this and not once has there been any mention of the parents where abouts! Also the dogs were in their yard minding their own business when this unsupervised child intruded on their property to engage these dogs in a game of tug and war!! Feel sorry for the boy but as far as I am concerned it’s just a tragic accident and hopefully the parents will keep a better eye on their childern!

  • Darren Seabolt 1 year ago

    I think the dog should be put down and the parents fined. It’s the dog and the parents fault. A 4 year old doesn’t know any better.

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      These dogs are someones fur babies how would putting them down help any thing.THEY DID NOTHING WRONG!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous 1 year ago


  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    The CHILD is 100% at fault here. Dogs were in THEIR OWN YARD!! You hurt these dogs, you’ve got innocent blood on your hands. And you should be euthanized, too.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    I feel bad that a little boy got hurt because I have a four year old but I also don’t let him play in the yard alone and wouldn’t let him near our neighbors dogs in the first place and dogs are wild no matter how much you train them that dog did what he felt he needed to do.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    The parents are going through hell also and they have another child.What kind of supervision is this child going to get or is it total neglect?

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