Dog mauls toddler to death at Fourth of July party


JOLIET, Ill. (WGN) – A one-year-old girl died after a dog attacked her while she was in her playpen early Sunday morning.

Just before 1:30 a.m., Joliet police responded to a report of a 1-year-old bitten by a dog.

When they arrived, they found an unresponsive 17-month-old girl, later identified as Marley Wilander, of Aurora, with bite marks throughout her body. Wilander was taken to Saint Joseph Medical Center where she was pronounced dead approximately two hours later.

After an initial investigation, police said the parents were visiting a friend’s Fourth of July party that night. Two pit bull mixed dogs were locked in the basement during the party.

During the course of the night, the toddler was put in a playpen located in an upstairs bedroom of the friend’s house.

Police said at some point during the night, the dogs got out of the basement. The homeowner went upstairs to check out a noise and located one of the dogs actively biting the toddler.

The homeowner was able to get the dog off her and called 911. The dog has been turned over to Joliet Township Animal Control.

Neighbor Carl Bell was enjoying fireworks nearby and said the party was going on for awhile.

“It was going on three-four hours nonstop dark to almost midnight,” he said. “A lot of dogs get out around here, it’s outside, inside someone’s house it’s their responsibility to take care of their dogs.”

The case is still under investigation.

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