The parents of a four-year-old Utah boy are suing their neighbors because of a vicious dog attack that cost the young child his hand and part of his arm, reports Deseret News (https://www.deseret.com/utah/2019/12/31/21044753/dog-mauling-parents-sue-neighbors-after-siberian-huskies-bite-off-boys-hand).
In March of 2019, the then three-year-old Austin Brown was playing in his family’s yard when two Siberian huskies belonging to their neighbors pulled the boy’s right arm and then shoulder underneath the fence that separated the two yards. Then, according to the lawsuit filed by his parents, Hope and John Brown, in the 2nd District Court of Farmington, the dogs viciously attacked and mutilated the small child before his father was able to pull him away from the animals and to safety. During the violent incident, the dogs chewed off the boy’s right hand and part of his right arm. As a result of the attack, Austin lost his right arm up to his elbow and his right hand.
In the court documents, the Brown family alleges that dogs’ owners–Christine Young, Teri Young and Joey Young–knew the animals were vicious prior to this attack, and their negligence led to the brutal attack on their son. The Browns are also suing the property management responsible for the Young’s home, saying they also knew the dogs presented a danger but failed to remove the animals or end the Young’s lease.
The Browns are suing for emotional stress, the medical costs related to Austin’s treatments for his injuries and punitive damages–a court award meant to punish a defendant for their behavior and deter others from behaving similarly. The damages for emotional stress and any punitive damages are to be proven at the trial. A family friend started a GoFundMe page for the family to help them with the holidays and Austin’s medical bills, and it has raised $8,000 so far.
Hope Brown said the family has been in shock since this happened, and her then-husband, a US veteran, suffered PTSD from the attack. They have since divorced.
According to Hope Brown, the couple received death threats and other angry messages online blaming them from what happened as the local law enforcement department originally issued a statement saying that Austin had put a sock on his hand and shoved it under the fence prior to the attack. The four-year-old, however, said he put his hand out to pet the animals after he saw a “puppy nose” through the fence, and the Browns–who witnessed the incident–said there was no sock involved. Since then, the law enforcement department has amended the statement, removing the part about the sock, and other neighbors have come forward to confirm the dogs were known to be aggressive to children through the fence.
The dogs involved, Bear and Polar, have since been put into a sanctuary after the owners surrendered them as part of a deal that spared them dangerous animal citations.
Dogs can be man’s best friend or worst enemy, as was the case for Austin Brown. If you or a family member has been harmed by a dangerous animal, contact a dog bite lawyer in Denver, CO today.
Thanks to Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and dog bit injuries.