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Twenty-month-old Pasco boy, mauled to death by family dog, identified

A Rottweiler attacked 20-month-old Dallas Walters on Saturday night at this home at 9615 Jerome Drive in New Port Richey. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Doll said charges against the homeowners were unlikely. “This looks like a tragic accident,” he said.

RODNEY THRASH | Times

A Rottweiler attacked 20-month-old Dallas Walters on Saturday night at this home at 9615 Jerome Drive in New Port Richey. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Doll said charges against the homeowners were unlikely. “This looks like a tragic accident,” he said.

NEW PORT RICHEY — It was 11:30 Saturday night when Andrew Walters burst into his parents' home.

"Dallas is gone," Walters told his father and mother. "Dallas is gone."

"What do you mean, gone?" Kim Landers asked her son.

Just hours earlier, Walters had taken his 20-month-old son to a birthday party at an aunt's house. She had a Rottweiler.

"A dog got a hold of him," Walters said, "and he's dead, Mom. He's gone."

The house on Nimmer Drive erupted into a state of hysteria, according to Walters' father, Delle Landers. Kim Landers screamed. Her adult children cried. Her grandchildren, confused by the tears and all the howling, bawled.

And Delle Landers lost it.

The man little Dallas Walters called Papa shows his emotions differently. He doesn't cry. At least not when family is around. Saturday, he grew angry and punched a hole in the wall of his own home.

"I wanted to go and kill those people that had the dog," he said Sunday afternoon, his knuckles raw. "People that have dogs like that should know when little kids are around, they don't need to be in there."

Late Sunday, the spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said criminal charges against the aunt were not likely.

"At this point, this looks like a tragic accident," Kevin Doll said. "It's still under investigation. I don't have any indication that it was anything criminal."

About 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Walters stepped outside the aunt's home at 9615 Jerome Drive and smoked a cigarette, Landers said. His fiancee, Jessica Stafford, remained inside with Dallas and handed him a cookie.

Minutes later, Walters put out his cigarette and rejoined the party. He saw a Rottweiler come from behind a couch and grab hold of Dallas' head.

Doll said the boy dropped the cookie and when he went to pick it up, the Rottweiler attacked.

Walters tried to break the dog's neck and managed to pull him off Dallas, Landers said.

Dallas didn't cry. He just screamed and moaned. Walters and Stafford rushed him to North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey.

At the hospital, they encouraged the boy to fight. "Be strong," they told Dallas. "Fight. Fight. Fight. You're a fighter."

Dallas lifted his arm, then put it down. He moaned some more.

Landers said doctors "called my son in and said, 'It's not good. There's nothing we can do.' "

• • •

No one was home Sunday at the Jerome Drive address, and officials did not release the aunt's name.

Pasco County Animal Control took the dog. Officials at the agency could not be reached for comment Sunday, and Doll would not say what might happen to the Rottweiler, whose size, name and history were not available.

When 4-year-old Dylan Medlock was mauled by his family's pit bullterrier in Zephyrhills in October, the animal was euthanized.

Landers said he doesn't want the Rottweiler that killed Dallas euthanized.

"I'd rather it die a horrible death," he said. "They can't let that dog live."

He said if the county doesn't take care of the dog, he will.

• • •

Just 20 months after Landers celebrated Dallas' arrival, he spent Sunday making funeral arrangements and trying to cope with his death.

A viewing has been scheduled for noon Tuesday at Dobies Funeral Home, 9944 Hudson Ave., Hudson. The funeral will follow at 1 p.m.

Landers is not sure where the family will get the money to cover expenses.

Walters is a nursing assistant at Bear Creek Nursing Center. Stafford, who gave birth to another boy in May, is a stay-at-home mom.

Rather than focus on something out of his control Sunday, Landers instead tried to reflect on the grandson he nicknamed Bobo.

Dallas' birth made his father a man, Landers said. "It changed him," he said. Walters gave up drugs, went to school and started work in the health care industry.

Dallas doted on his younger brother and got him his bottle to stop him from crying.

He greeted complete strangers when he went to the store.

He liked to give hugs, offer a smile, kick balls around the house, play peek-a-boo, swim in the summertime.

He loved hats.

"That's what they're going to bury him in," Landers said. "Camouflage pants, camouflage sweater and camouflage hat."

There was only one thing Dallas was afraid of, Landers said.

Big dogs.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

Twenty-month-old Pasco boy, mauled to death by family dog, identified 12/13/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 14, 2009 1:43pm]
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