District Attorney Craig Ladd said Wednesday he is reviewing investigative reports concerning the circumstances surrounding a reported dog mauling that left a 2-year-old child critically injured Saturday evening at a northwest side residence.
Ardmore Police Department submitted the investigative reports to the district attorney. Sgt. Ryan Hunnicutt, APD public information officer, said the investigation showed the toddler was unsupervised at the time he was bitten.
"Investigators determined that the mother and her child had stayed the night (at a residence located in the 700 block of Cherry Street) with people they knew casually. The acquaintance is also the dog owner," Hunnicutt said.
The dog, described as a pit bull and mastiff mix, was chained in the backyard, which was fenced.
"Investigator believe the child was in the kitchen (about 6 p.m.) for some time without adult supervision. The child got into syrup and caramel sauce, as well as marshmallows and dog food. It is presumed that the child was taking handfuls of dog food to the animal when the animal bit the child repeatedly," Hunnicutt said. "It was the owner of the dog that was awakened by the sounds of the child screaming, and took the child to the mother, who was still sleeping."
The little boy was airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital, and has undergone multiple surgeries. The child has been taken into Department of Human Services custody, and reportedly remains in critical condition.
Monday, Ardmore Municipal Judge David Blankenship signed the order to euthanize the dog in order for rabies tests to be conducted.
However, Hunnicutt said the investigation did not indicate the dog was aggressive, and investigators were seeking charges of child neglect against the 2-year-old's mother.
"This incident is, of course, very tragic. The combination of the shear size and strength of the dog, as well as the lack of supervision of the child, have contributed to this very tragic event. A small child was left unattended, became covered in foodstuff, and then came into contact with a dog that was secured in a fenced yard and on a chain," Hunnicutt said. "While the dog has been euthanized, our investigation shows no indication that the dog showed any aggressive behavior prior to this incident. The charges sent to the DA are in response to what investigators believe very strongly amounts to neglect in the care of the child."