Illinois toddler killed in pit bull attack during July 4th party

A 17-month-old Illinois girl died after being attacked by a dog in a playpen at a Fourth of July party, police said.

Marley Wilander, of Aurora, died early Sunday at a hospital in Joliet, where she and her parents had attended a friend’s party hours earlier, police told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The tot’s parents put her in a playpen in an upstairs room at their friend’s house before two pit bull mixes somehow escaped the basement. The homeowner then heard a commotion upstairs and found one of the dogs biting the girl, police said.

The homeowner, who was not identified, managed to get the animal off the little girl, but she had already been covered with “bite marks throughout her body,” police said in a statement.

She was rushed to a hospital in Joliet, where she later died. A preliminary autopsy indicated she died from the attack, the newspaper reports.

No charges had been filed in the incident as of Monday. The dog, meanwhile, was reportedly turned over to Joliet Township Animal Control.

An Aurora resident who was watching fireworks nearby said the party had been raging until nearly midnight and added that “a lot of dogs” frequently run free in the neighborhood.

“Inside someone’s house it’s their responsibility to take care of their dogs,” Bell told WGN.

A call seeking additional comment from Joliet police was not immediately returned Thursday.

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