NEW PORT RICHEY — The year-old Rottweiler that killed a Pasco County toddler Saturday night was put to death just hours later.
Because of the brutal attack and reports that others may have been scratched or bitten trying to rescue 20-month-old Dallas Walter, the dog was euthanized so it could be tested immediately, Pasco Animal Services director Denise Hilton said Monday. Results are expected Wednesday.
"We have no proof that this dog had a current rabies shot," she said. "That always raises the eyebrows. We want to be safe."
The dog attacked Dallas at a family member's birthday party at a home on Jerome Drive in the Moon Lake area of west Pasco County. The boy had dropped a cookie and when he went to pick it up the dog bit him, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The dog belonged to Lisa and Preston Evans, Hilton said. She is Dallas' mother's great-aunt. Attempts to reach the Evanses on Monday were unsuccessful.
The dog, Willie, was not registered with the county or neutered, which may have been a factor in the attack, Hilton said.
"Most of the time, we are dealing with intact males in fatal attacks," she said.
Normally, an animal is quarantined for 10 days and placed under observation for rabies after it bites a human.
The Evanses said they got Willie about two months ago from someone in Tampa who had placed an ad in a newspaper, Hilton said. She did not know Willie's exact weight, but male Rottweilers his age often are more than 100 pounds.
"They said the dog had been playing all day with the kids at the party with no problems at all," she said.
The county is trying to contact the original owners to find if the dog had any other "personality difficulties."
The Evanses surrendered Willie and another Rottweiler puppy. The 3-month-old puppy had no part in the attack and will likely be placed in a new home, Hilton said.
Andrew Walters, Dallas' father, said the family is taking the loss "second by second."
He was outside Evans' home moments before the attack. Dallas was inside with his mother, Jessica Stafford.
Walters, 26, said he walked in to find a younger family member playing with Willie, a dog he had never seen before that night.
"He was supposed to be chained up in the back yard, but he somehow got loose," Walters said.
Family members say the dog came from behind a couch and grabbed Dallas' head. Walters tried to break the dog's neck and managed to pull him off the toddler.
Walters said he thinks the dog was unable to reach his food dish in the back yard and somehow got inside when the family opened the house for air.
"The dog was deprived, so my son is prey," he said.
He said he had yet to talk to the Evanses. "I can't,'' he said. "I don't trust my actions.'' He wants criminal charges.
Kevin Doll, the spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, said the death is under investigation. On Sunday he said that it looks like a "tragic accident.''
A viewing for Dallas has been scheduled for noon today at Dobies Funeral Home, 9944 Hudson Ave., Hudson. The funeral will follow at 1 p.m.
Walters is a nursing assistant at Bear Creek Nursing Center; Stafford stays home with Dallas' 7-month-old brother, Dallyn. They don't have much money, so family members have set up an account at SunTrust Bank in Dallas' name to help pay for funeral arrangements.
As his family grieved around him, Dallyn played as usual on Monday, oblivious to the tragedy.
The baby grinned and laughed, and his father said he knew why.
"His brother is playing with him," Walters said.
Helen Anne Travis can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 435-7312.