The 24-year-old Ardmore mother, who allegedly slept while her 2-year-old son was mauled by a dog Sept. 14 at a northwest side residence, has been charged with neglect of a child.
District Attorney Craig Ladd said he filed the felony charge Thursday against Kera Mae Wood. The charge accuses Wood of "inadequate supervision which led to (the boy) being mauled and seriously injured by a pit bull dog ...." If convicted, Wood faces up to life in prison and a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000.
Ladd confirmed Wood was not in custody and an arrest warrant was not being sought.
Instead, a summons has been issued ordering Wood to appear in district court to face the charge at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15. The summons was sent to Wood via her attorney, Betsy Clark.
The child was injured around 6 p.m. in a yard, located in the 700 block of Cherry Street. Ardmore police reports indicate Wood and her son had spent the night with an acquaintance who lived in the house. Both the mother and the occupant of the house, who was also the owner of the dog, were reportedly asleep when the incident occurred.
"Investigators 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," said Sgt. Ryan Hunnicutt, APD public information officer.
"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 child, described as "critically injured" with injuries that included severe head and facial wounds, was airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital. The little boy has undergone multiple surgeries to repair damage.
The owner of the dog could not produce documentation that the animal was currently vaccinated for rabies. Subsequently, Ardmore Municipal Judge David Blankenship signed an order to euthanize the dog in order for rabies tests to be conducted.
However, while he called the situation "very tragic," Hunnicutt said the evidence indicated the incident was the result of something very different from an unprovoked aggressive/vicious dog attack.
"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 amount to neglect in the care of the child."
Results of the investigation led to the child being taken into custody by the Department of Human Services.