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Dogs that attacked girl will not be euthanized

Two dogs attacked an Eagle Mountain girl on her bike on Sept. 11, 2019. Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — Utah County officials will not euthanize two dogs involved in an attack against a 9-year-old girl.

Today, the dogs are back with their owner.

Utah County officials described the dogs, a mastiff and a wire terrier as “vicious.” But the officials say they don’t have enough evidence to prove which dog actually attacked the girl.

The child was riding her bike on September 11. Officials say the dogs started circling the girl and then attacked. Family members say she suffered significant but non-life-threatening injuries.

“There were quite a lot of scratches and bruising on her torso and she is having trouble lifting her arm right now,” the girl’s mother told KSL TV shortly after the attack.

Why were the dogs not euthanized?

“There were a couple of factors involved here,” Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon says. “One of them was that there was no reported history of these dogs displaying this kind of behavior.

“Sometimes that helps [when trying to decide] whether or not a  dog would be euthanized or destroyed.”

Sgt. Cannon says another factor in that decision is that the county code and the state code don’t have a clearly defined set of circumstances dictating when a dog should be euthanized.

Another complicating factor, Cannon said, was that the County Attorney wasn’t comfortable with the amount of information they had about the dogs. Specifically, officials didn’t know if one dog was the aggressor or if both dogs attacked the child.

“Clearly both were there and were circling her, that seems apparent,” Cannon told KSL Newsradio’s Dave and Dujanovic show on Wednesday.

“But without some additional clarity on whether it was both or one of the dogs, the county attorney wasn’t comfortable in making a decision on euthanizing one or both of the dogs.”

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