The 15-month-old dog named Caitlyn was found on Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina with duct-tape around her snout bleeding and in desperate shape.
For the latest updates on Caitlyn scroll to the bottom of this article!
A concerned resident spotted Caitlyn and called the Charleston County 911 dispatch center: “I have a dog that’s here at my house that I found and the dog’s mouth is taped shut with electrical tape, tongue hanging out its mouth, bleeding, and his tongue is completely black,” the 911 caller said. “I just don’t know what to do.”
***Please be aware there are a few images below which some may find disturbing***
It’s a horrific act of animal cruelty that has authorities and the community outraged and searching for the culprit.
The young Staffordshire-mix was found on Wednesday in the Chicora Cherokee neighborhood with electrical tape secured tightly around her muzzle.
Local residents in the community told The Post and Courier she was a friendly dog and well-known in the community. The man who called 911 told dispatchers that Caitlyn would often show up at his home and play with his dog.
After news got out about Caitlyn a couple came forward and told Animal Control that they had previously cared for Caitlyn but had sold her on Monday to a man who offered to buy her.
ABC News 4 is reporting that Caitlyn, whose original name was Diamond, was a rambunctious puppy and causing damage to the couple’s home that led to an eviction process by the landlord. They told the news station decided they could not give Caitlyn the attention and training she needed.
A man came by and offered to buy her on Monday and Caitlyn left their house in good health. Two days later she was found bleeding and with her mouth taped shut. The couple have provided a description of the man to Animal Control.
Charleston Animal Society Director of Anti-Cruelty & Outreach Aldwin Roman commented on the cruel incident: “This is the most malicious case of animal abuse I have seen in my entire career, to leave this dog in pain, unable to eat or drink and to now leave her in the position where her life is at stake because she may lose her tongue is heartbreaking.”
The Humane Society of the United States has upped the reward money to catch the culprit behind Caitlyn’s abuse to $5000. The Charleston Animal Society is offering $1000. The organizations are hoping the reward is incentive for someone to come forward.
Joe Elmore CEO Charleston Animal Society said, “There is no reason for cruelty against animals or humans, especially of this intentional and heinous manner. Someone had to take the time to find or buy electrical tape, then take more time in finding this innocent, adorable dog to bound its snout with its tongue between its teeth. These are the same type of criminals who murder and rape women, children and other defenseless living creatures. We will pull out all the stops to save Caitlyn’s life and to find the culprit(s) who did this to her!”
By Friday afternoon, Caitlyn was being moved into a hyperbaric chamber at Mount Pleasant Veterinary Care Specialists for treatment. Hopes are the specialized treatment will save her tongue.
“Caitlyn is in a lot of pain, her condition is critical, and her prognosis is guarded,” said Charleston Animal Society Senior Director of Veterinary Care, Dr. Lucy Fuller, DVM, “A large part of her tongue may need to be removed surgically if the tissue dies from the lack of blood flow. She may be severely disfigured, or the large amount of dead tissue may cause life-threatening complications.”
As of Saturday, veterinarians reported that she is doing better and is “eating small portions of wet food and carrying around her bowl which is a good sign of her mental health” the Charleston Animal Society wrote. “She is undergoing Hyperbaric treatments every twelve hours and is receiving IV fluids and antibiotics. Caitlyn may undergo surgery to remove necrotic tongue and lip tissue early next week.”
Although Caitlyn’s struggle is not over, she is doing well considering her ordeal and she is in good hands now!
News Flash: Authorities have made an arrest in Caitlyn’s case, nearly a week after she arrived at the Charleston Animal Society. According to the Post and Courier, North Charleston police have arrested 41-year-old William Leonard Dodson and charged him with ill treatment of animals-torture. Dodson is expected to appear Tuesday for a bond hearing.
Upon hearing the news of an arrest, the Charleston Humane Society wrote, “We are supportive of the NCPD’s investigation and hope justice will be served in this case. We are eager for whomever committed this crime to be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law, which continues to be one of the nation’s weakest.”
They also wrote that Caitlyn continues to recover from her ordeal, but she is still hospitalized. In her latest photograph, she’s well enough to hold a chew in her mouth.
Update: June 6, 2015
Veterinarians performed the surgical procedures to repair her damaged mouth and the surgery went very well. She only lost a small part of her tongue and she’s healing much faster than anyone expected! Charleston Animal Society wrote that after her surgery, “she is partying like a rock star eating a bit, drinking and enjoying her pain meds!”
Update: June 8, 2015
Caitlyn is recovering and spending time with the staff at Veterinary Specialty Care – SC, who did such a wonderful job with her surgery. The vets say, “She has moved in to Dr. Kelli Klein’s office and oh…..she is sitting on the doctor’s bed!”
Dr. Bianucci who performed Caitlyn’s surgery says her wounds are healing very nicely and the sutures are staying in place. She’s also loving all the TLC she’s getting from the vet technicians there!
Update: June 15, 2015
Caitlyn has her bark back. Her muzzle was bound for barking, but now she’s found her voice again thanks to the care she is receiving. Dr. Henri Bianucci told HLNTV that Caitlyn is “able to eat normal food, so she’s eating, drinking and doing very well. She’s also doing plenty of barking!”
Dr. Bianucci forgot to add that he starts his Mondays off with a Caitlyn kiss!
Caitlyn continues to heal and is staying in a special air-conditioned kennel at the animal hospital during the heat wave that’s hit South Carolina.
The Charleston Animal Society shared a video of Caitlyn letting out a big bark/howl for everyone to enjoy!
What a trooper. It looks like her terrible ordeal is behind her and it has not dampened her spirit or good nature!
Caitlyn is enjoying the toys she’s getting too. Here she is enjoying her favorite squeaky pig!
Update: July 8, 2015
As of July 1st, Caitlyn is in foster care. She’s loving the company of fellow foster pup, Oreo. She also loves her foster family.
The Charleston Animal Society writes, “Caitlyn is very happy in her foster home with her new boy! He lets her share his bed! What an amazing survival story she is for abused animals and she is giving hope and strength to humans in abusive situations!”
News Flash: August 11, 2016
Caitlyn’s abuser is 42-year-old William Leonard Dodson of North Charleston, South Carolina has pleaded guilty on Monday to a felony charge of ill treatment of an animal. Dodson is facing a prison sentence of 6 months to 5 years, plus a $5,000 fine.
Caitlyn is living with a loving foster family who is helping her recover from the anxiety and stress that she still has from the trauma of the incident.
She will remain in foster care with the Charleston Animal Society.
Please share Caitlyn’s story with your friends and support the Charleston Animal Society’s efforts to help Caitlyn and other animals like her!