To Luis Brignoni Sr., it was either his son's pinkie finger or Sassy, the family dog. He picked the pinkie.
Eleven-year-old Fernando Brignoni had stuck his finger in Sassy's cage. The Malamute-wolf mix bit down and refused to let go until she had severed the finger and swallowed it.
The incident happened last week in Bradenton. After the family realized what had happened to the finger, the elder Brignoni, an experienced hunter, grabbed his gun and shot Sassy. With Fernando and another son in the room, Brignoni then dissected the dog.
"So I start cutting her open and they're helping me look for the finger inside the stomach," he told WTSP.
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The gruesome effort turned out to be all for naught. Fernando was airlifted to a nearby hospital, but doctors were unable to reattach the finger. Instead they had to attach grafted skin from the boy's arm to cover the remaining stub.
"He might be missing a finger, but his other four are good. 'Cause God is good, you know, he still has four fingers to do everything that he can do with five. He can do with four," the father told the news station.
Local sheriff's deputies investigated but didn't press charges. The incident was deemed an accident.