NEWBERRY, Mich. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to child abuse after sleeping through the near-fatal mauling of his 3-year-old daughter, who wandered into a back yard, got tangled in a Rottweiler's chain and was bitten and scratched for an hour.
The child, Iris Wass, is recovering from wounds that covered nearly all her body. She was treated at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, where dirt had to be vacuumed from her lungs, relatives and police said.
Corey Thomas Wass, 27, of Newberry, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday in Luce County District Court. Shortly afterward, he pleaded guilty in circuit court to second-degree child abuse.
Sentencing was scheduled for March 20 and could include prison time ranging from four months to four years.
"He feels that there's nothing they can do to him to make him feel worse than he already does," Corey Wass' mother, Sandra Wass, told The Mining Journal of Marquette.
Amber Mayor, the child's mother, said she wanted Corey Wass' parental rights terminated.
"I don't care what he does or where he is, as long as he can't see her," said Mayor, 20. She said she and Wass had never married and their relationship ended about a year ago.
Iris was dropped off at the home of Sandra Wass on Jan. 4 for a visit with her father, investigators said.
Corey Wass said in court Monday he had consumed intoxicants or medication earlier and fell asleep while Iris was there. His mother told the newspaper that Wass and his daughter were watching cartoons when he dozed off.
"To me, it was a tragic accident," Sandra Wass said. "It could happen to anyone who lays down and takes a nap with their toddler."
Prosecutor Peter Tazelaar said the charge was based on the child's injuries and her father's failure to protect her.
Iris wandered through two doors to the yard, where three dogs were chained.
She apparently got tangled in the chain holding a 120-pound female Rottweiler. Sheriff Kevin Erickson said the dog may have panicked and started scratching and biting the girl.
A neighbor finally noticed what was happening and rescued Iris. By then, her clothes had been scratched off and she had suffered 11 bites, two of which went to the bone. She was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, her heart rate and blood pressure fluctuating wildly and body temperature dangerously low.
Iris spent 15 days with a feeding tube and underwent three operations to remove infected skin.
She was released from the hospital in Ann Arbor last Friday and returned home to Newberry, where relatives say she faces a long recovery.
"She's doing well today, she's playing," Mayor said Monday. "She's just a little miracle baby, tough as nails."
The dog was ordered euthanized.
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