Dogs attacked and caused the death of a 7-year-old La Salle boy this morning on a rural property between Varna and Wenona, according to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department and coroner.
The sheriff’s department received a 911 call at about 7:15 a.m. Wednesday “advising of a dog attack at the Eric Shanklin Farm, approximately 2 miles northeast of Varna,” according to the report. An area resident advised that an Eric Shanklin is a renter of the house at that site.
“Jason T. Walter, 7, was outside the rural residence when he was attacked by a number of dogs. Family members found him lying in the driveway outside the residence and called 911,” according to the report. Marshall County Coroner Dave Lenz pronounced Walter dead "a short time later.”
“Four dogs, three pit bulls and a mixed breed, owned by other residents on the property were captured and taken to the Marshall County veterinary clinic to be euthanized and taken to Galesburg for further investigation,” according to the sheriff’s department’s initial report. Sheriff Rob Russell initially said the mixed breed was personally owned by Shanklin, but he did not provide any other specific information on the ownership of the dogs.
Walter was a student in the second grade at Northwest School, La Salle, superintendent Dan Marenda confirmed. After learning about the death, the La Salle school district was in the process of making social workers available to school children.
The sheriff’s department was assisted by Wenona Ambulance, Varna Fire and Ambulance and Lifeflight. State police and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department and the coroner continue to investigate.