An Oklahoma dad is behind bars after police found his toddler daughter locked in a dog cage and another locked outside his house without clothing on Monday.
Tulsa police responded to a call from a neighbor who heard a child screaming outside. When they arrived, cops found a naked 4-year-old girl locked outside on a cold afternoon, the Associated Press reports. Police knocked on the door, but there was no answer.
Officers then spied another child locked in a dog kennel inside. When there was still no answer, they knocked down the door to rescue the other child.
Once inside, they discovered the child in the cage was 18 months old and covered in feces. A 3-year-old child was asleep in another room.
Even after the door was broken down, no adults responded. Police soon discovered the children's father asleep in an "alcohol- or drug-related stupor" on the bed, according to the AP. He'd apparently slept through the investigation and his child's screams.
Police arrested the man and he's currently being held ion $50,000 bail. (News reports are not naming the father, in order to protect his children's identities.)
The children's mother returned home just as police were wrapping up their investigation. She wasn't arrested, but it's possible she could face some legal action as more facts become known.
Child abuse is a serious crime, and when it's intentional or reckless it can lead to criminal charges. Not only can the perpetrator face a lengthy prison sentence, but he can also lose custody of his children.
If you suspect a child is being abused, report it to police even if you aren't a mandatory reporter. Like what happened in this case, it can make all the difference for the children involved.
- Oklahoma dad arrested after toddler daughter found locked in dog cage (Fox News)
- What To Do if You Suspect Child Abuse (FindLaw's Blotter)
- 'Hot Sauce Mom' Convicted of Child Abuse in AK (FindLaw's Blotter)