Dog viciously attacks owner after fireworks, experts warn to look for the signs

Jul 21, 2022, 10:48 AM | Updated: 2:23 pm

NORTH OGDEN, Utah — A dog owner is recovering after being attacked by her 5-year-old red heeler. 

Chrissy Longfellow said when the bleeding from the attack did not stop, she rushed to the ER with over 40 puncture wounds.

“Wounds were on my right arm, my right calve and basically all the way down the right side of my body,” she said.

Longfellow said their dog was acting nervous from fireworks on July 4, the night before, and when a rogue firework went off the next day while their dog was outside, it ‘set him off’.

“He came running back into the bedroom, I wasn’t aware there were fireworks, he had been shaking,” Longfellow said. “When he went to chase our new kitten, I grabbed his collar and I said ‘outside’. His collar came off that’s when he attacked me.” 

Longfellow was unaware that she had ordered him back to the very place that frightened him.

Her husband, who was outside, heard the commotion and quickly ran into the bedroom. He ripped their dog off of his wife and pushed him outside.

“That’s when I saw carnage. I saw blood all over the floor and I saw our dog grabbing at her arm, just pulling and ripping her arm,” Ken Longfellow said. “You could see the outline of his jaws snatching on.” 

*Some photos in this gallery show blood and may be disturbing to viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.* 

The Longfellows have since given up their dog to Weber County Animal Services. They told KSL they have not called for an update and did not want to know the dog’s fate.

They just hope by sharing their story it will prompt dog owners to watch for the signs in pets during fireworks season.

“Just be hyper aware of what can happen and just make sure your dogs are inside and safe to try to prevent this from happening again,” Chrissy Longfellow said.

Callista Pearson with Salt Lake County Animal Services warns if your dog seems anxious, give them some space, especially if they are hiding.

“Fireworks, it’s like being a war zone for dogs,” she said. “It’s best just to leave them in there and let them come out on their own when they are less stressed out.” 

Here are some tips to help your pet feel comfortable and safe, courtesy of Salt Lake County Animal Services:

  • Go for walks early.
  • Leave pets at home — they do not like firework displays or hot pavement.
  • If you’re having a BBQ, check that your gates, garages and doors are secured so your pet can’t escape.
  • Give them a safe place to hunker down; don’t try to pull them out of hiding if they’re scared.
  • Play soft music to distract them.
  • Keep them indoors, lower the blinds and close windows. When scared, dogs and cats will break through screens or windows to escape their home. The flickering lights are stress inducing.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, make sure your dog/cat is microchipped and the contact information on the microchip is up to date. If you don’t have time to get them microchipped before the holiday, be sure to put a collar and ID tag on them.
    • Check this easy hack: If you don’t have a tag for your pet, use duct tape on their collar and a permanent marker to put their name and your number on it.
  • Prevent injury or bites to yourself. If you find a lost or injured animal, they will be scared! Please contact your local animal services and have an officer pick them up.

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Dog viciously attacks owner after fireworks, experts warn to look for the signs