Animal abuse suspect arrested for taping dog's muzzle shut

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Caitlyn, a 15-month-old pit bull mix, was found outside its former owner's home with its mouth bound shut with electrical tape.
creativeContent-Charleston Animal Society

A 15-month-old pit bull mix is recovering from surgery and is doing much better than expected after being discovered last with its mouth bound shut by electrical tape last week.

Dr. Henry Bianacci, the veterinarian who performed surgery, said that Caityln is responding well to treatment. Bianacci said on Tuesday that the dog may lose up to a quarter of its tongue, but officials had to take out less than expected, according to WCIV.

Caitlyn is also undergoing laser therapy and has been receiving treatments from a hyperbaric chamber.

On Monday, William Leonard Dodson was arrested on suspicion of the crime. Dodson, 41, faces charges of ill treatment of an animal involving torture and a punishment of up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to CNN.

Dodson had purchased Caitlyn on May 25 for $10 after the dog's former owner became concerned they might be evicted because of its harmful behavior. Dodson then returned Caityln the next day to the previous owner with its mouth bound shut because the dog would not stop barking.

"Don't let me find you," the former owner of the dog told ABC News 4. "That's all I can say, don't let me find you because that's part of my family you just did some foul things to."

The former owners said Dodson had been laughing when he taped up the dog.

Dodson's relationship with the previous owner remains unclear; the former owners told ABC News 4 last week that they did not know the man who had bought Caityln, but a court affidavit says that owners knew Dodson for at least a year and considered him "like a brother."

Caitlyn is believed to have had her mouth taped shut for as much as 48 hours before she was eventually handled off to officials at the Charleston Animal Society for care. The dog has lost a quarter of its tongue because of the abuse, but is responding well to treatment.

Dodson's bond was set at $50,000 and he was ordered to surrender one other pet.

Aldwin Roman, Director of Anti-Cruelty & Outreach at the Charleston Animal Society, says that bond amount is too low.

"She's going to be permanently disfigured and permanently disabled. The damage is done," Roman told ABC News 4. "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."

Caitlyn's story has gone viral, with many on social media sending their best wishes to the injured dog.

The animal society hopes that Caitlyn's tragic tale will raise awareness into the horrors of animal cruelty and the importance of taking care of stray animals. The society is encouraging public donations to Toby's Fund, which helps the society says will help save more abused and neglected animals.