Close to 50,000 people have signed a petition to save the lives of huskies Polar and Bear after one of the dogs bit off a 4-year-old Utah boy’s hand Sunday afternoon.
In an attempt to play with the dog, the young child, whose name has not been released, put a sock over his arm and stuck it underneath the fence that separates his backyard from the neighbor’s yard where two huskies live, Layton City Police PIO Jason Cook told PEOPLE Monday.
“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,” Jessica Nusz, a friend of the dogs’ owner, wrote in the Care2 appeal with the hope that enough signatures will convince authorities at Davis County Animal Control to release the dogs, who have been in quarantine since the incident took place.
“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 down for this freak incident.”
Following the incident, the boy’s father, who was inside their home when the attack took place, dialed 911, telling police his son’s hand had been completely ripped off.
When authorities arrived on the scene, they found the father doing his best to comfort the small boy and stop the bleeding.
The child’s entire hand and 2 to 3 inches of his forearm were missing, Cook explained.
After assessing the boy’s injuries, a helicopter flew him to a hospital in Salt Lake City.
“[He] was a tough little boy, wasn’t even crying,” Cook told PEOPLE. “He never even shed a tear in the helicopter.”
Around 10 emergency responders were dispatched to find the boy’s hand for a potential reattachment, but their mission was unsuccessful.
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Police believe the dog may have “ingested” the limb, Cook said.
Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the little boy underwent surgery to patch up his limb. He is currently in stable condition and is surrounded by family, Cook said.
The boy’s injury came as a shock to the owner of the huskies as it was the dog’s “first bite incident,” Cook explained.
“The homeowner says that the dogs are docile pets that have never demonstrated any aggression.”
The investigation is still ongoing at this time and the dogs’ fate remains uncertain.
Davis County Animal Control did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.