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Boy attacked by dog returns home, family thankful he’s alive


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Austin Behner | Courtesy GoFundMe

RIGBY — A little over a month after being attacked by a dog in his yard, 7-year-old Austin Behner is home with a long road of recovery ahead of him.

Austin was mauled by his family pet, a bulldog mix, on May 13. His mom, Jessica Behner, says there have been many ups and downs since then but they are thankful he is alive.

“Firstly, I would like to say happily, that Austin is now home, recovering well, and his loving personality and high energy is back to normal,” she tells “He has been running around, playing and simply enjoying life.”

RELATED | 7-year-old flown to Primary Children’s Hospital after dog attack in Rigby

After the attack, Austin was rushed to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center via ambulance where he received emergency care and underwent nearly 10 hours of surgery. The family was told Austin would need neurosurgery so he was airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

“On the flight and upon arrival, they determined that he still had brain function, and could possibly not need surgery after all,” Jessica explained.

Austin ended up not needing neurosurgery but spent about two weeks in the intensive care unit. He remained there until he was functioning well enough to have breathing tubes removed and an additional operation on his eye.

A surgeon later discovered that Austin’s left arm still lacked function and scans revealed he had severed nerves that required about a four-hour procedure.

Jessica said after healing somewhat from the arm surgery, it was determined that he was ready to return home and he was released from the hospital June 5.

“His improvement is incredible so far,” Jessica said. “We will be traveling back and forth for the next several months, but it is all worth it to see our little one happy and healthy again.”

Courtesy GoFundMe

Austin will continue to do out-patient therapies. In the near future, he will also need two additional surgeries on his arm and one to repair his eyelid. The dog was immediately put down following the attack, according to the family and law enforcement.

“We would like to extend our greatest gratitude to everyone who helped us have our little boy home once again,” she said. “We appreciate the EMTs, officers, nurses, doctors, surgeons, and all the kind words, thoughts and prayers. We are grateful for all of the love and support, every photo that Austin received, and much more.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with the bills and travel costs to Utah. You can find more information here.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.