Saturday, June 17, 2017

Utah: Little boy, 8, climbs fence to retrieve ball and is mauled by neighbor's three Pit Bulls - one of which is claimed to be a "service dog" and one that looks pregnant

UTAH -- Lindsay Long's 8-year-old son was playing in their Clearfield backyard with a friend when his ball went over the neighbor's fence.

He decided to go get it, and, in a matter of seconds, three pit bulls were on top of him.

"The dogs ran after him," Long said. "They noticed him, got him to the ground, drug him across the yard a couple feet."


She heard the commotion and ran over to rescue him, but her son had already been bitten. She said she attempted to put her body between her son and the dogs, but they were relentless. She ended up throwing her son back over the fence.

The boy suffered some soft tissue damage, some abrasions and puncture wounds.

Long said she and her husband have both told their son not to go into the neighbor's yard, even if he has permission to retrieve a toy. The dog owner's uncle, Richard Palamara, lives in the home. He said to his knowledge, the boy was never given permission.

Palamara said no kids have ever jumped the fence before. He also said any other times the dogs have been around children, they have been friendly.

"They're good dogs, man; I'm kind of surprised that's what happened," he said.

Brian Smith, a Davis County Animal Control Field Supervisor, said any time multiple dogs get together, it creates a pack mentality.

"Something could set them off," he said.

That is what troubles Long. She said she wants the laws changed and made stricter when considering an attack made by multiple dogs. She added Davis County prohibits homeowners from having more than two dogs in the home, anyway. At this point, however, she feels the dogs' punishment does not suit the crime.

"[My son] went through so much trauma, and the fact that these animals are allowed to just stay there and are basically off the hook for attacking my son," Long said.

Palamara is trying to work things out with the Longs. He said he feels awful for what happened.

"I do feel for the kid 100 percent," he said. "I don't feel like anybody should deserve what he went through. It must have been traumatic for him."

Smith said their investigation will be based on evidence and testimony gathered at the scene.


Less than a month ago, someone called Davis County Animal Care and Control about the same property, complaining the household had an illegal number of animals. Clearfield regulations allow only three animals per household, only two of which may be dogs, Thacker said.

Two of the three dogs will be allowed to return to the property where the boy was bitten, Thacker said. All three will be considered “dangerous” in the future.

Lindsay Long complained because she believes the dog owners were allowed to keep three dogs when they said one was a service dog. Thacker said he was unaware of any claim that the dog owners had a service animal.

“They were given a certain amount of time to get down to two dogs,” Thacker said. “An officer had not followed up with them.”

The Longs also say the three dogs were allowed by animal control to stay at the owner’s house immediately after the incident. They were not removed until the family called animal control the next day, they said.

The dogs were supposed to be in a home quarantine, Thacker said, but the owners weren’t following certain guidelines.

“The state mandates what a quarantine is,” Thacker said. “There are specific guidelines. The people were not following the guidelines, so we took them.”

Also an issue for the Longs was that they were told the dogs were not licensed or vaccinated, they said. The parents said doctors had to leave some of their son’s wounds open to allow drainage to guard against possible infection.

Thacker verified the dogs were not licensed but was unsure about whether they were vaccinated.

The measure is a precaution used when dog bites are severe, Thacker said.

“Not all dogs who bite are considered dangerous afterward,” Thacker said. “Just because a bite breaks the skin, it does not require the dog to be considered dangerous.”

This incident is cause for concern, he said, because of the level of aggression shown in the dogs. Thacker also stressed that the decision to deem the dogs as dangerous was not based on their breed. Any kind of dog can be highly aggressive, not just pit bulls, he said.

Thacker said he didn’t know what percentage of dog attacks in Davis County came from pit bulls or of any other recent incidents involving the breed.

Clearfield’s animal-limit regulation law is basis for only allowing the dog owners to bring back only two of the dogs to the property after the 10-day quarantine, Thacker said.

“They cannot get the animals back until they prove they are down to two,” Thacker said. He also will consider grounds for a third dog should the owners provide proof that one is registered as a service dog, he said.

The owners will have to euthanize one dog, prove one is a service dog or relocate one somewhere that will accept a dog labeled as dangerous, he said.

Caution around any animal always is warranted, Thacker said, especially around larger or unfamiliar animals as they all have the “capability of attacking,” he said. He also advised against going into someone else’s back yard.

“Knock on the door,” he said. “Never take it upon yourself. Tell owners.”


The dogs are currently in quarantine and will be deemed dangerous which will require that:

The owners build a six-sided kennel to keep them in whenever the dogs are outside.

 The dogs also must wear a muzzle unless they are in the kennel or house.

 If the dogs are taken for a walk, they must be walked by an adult who is physically capable of handling them (and the dogs must be muzzled).

Did the child have "permission" by the dogs' owner to enter the yard? I don't know. But some jurisdictions see yards with animals like a swimming pool - an irresistible attraction to children and so there are laws that say the property owner is the one responsible for erecting locked fences that will keep children out. See below where it says Utah is a "strict liability state".


Actions routinely taken against dogs that are considered dangerous or that bite can differ.

In Morgan County, dogs are not usually considered dangerous upon their first biting offense.


After a 10-day quarantine in a kennel or their home, they generally are released to their owners, said an animal control worker there.

If the dog bites again, Morgan officials generally ask that the dog leave the county, the worker said.

Note: This is called NIMBY = Not in my back yard. This is when towns and cities refuse to do the responsible thing and go through the procedures for ordering the euthanization of an animal, but instead tell the owner to get it out of their city limits/county line and make it some other town's problem. 

The dog is shipped off to a neighboring county either via a rescue or the dog is sold or given away and the people now living with this vicious dog in their neighborhood have no idea where the dog came from or what it did to suddenly show up living among them. And when the dog attacks someone or someone's pet, animal control will say they have no history on this dog.

According to Utah dog bite laws, owners are liable for the actions of their animals. Utah is considered a statutory strict liability state, meaning dog owners do not have to be found at fault in order to be liable for damages.

The law outlines cases where owners were held responsible for knowing their dogs could be aggressive because they had lunged at people in the past or had followed their victims for 50 feet.

Ashley Haslam, director of Weber County Animal Services, said county officers also sometimes allows dogs to be quarantined at home following a bite, depending upon the severity.

She said not being licensed or vaccinated generally is cause for officers to decide to quarantine an animal at the shelter instead of at home.

“It’s really up to the officer’s discretion,” she said.


(Fox13 - June 11, 2017)


  1. This privacy fence does a good job of hiding the deck which supports this heat pump unit and oil tank.
    house fence

  2. Interested to know final outcome....