Justice has been served for a poor dog found with her muzzle brutally bound with electrical tape after her abuser was sentenced to five years in prison — South Carolina's maximum for animal cruelty.
William Dodson, 43, of North Charleston, was convicted Sunday of animal cruelty against Caitlyn, an American Staffordshire bull terrier mix that captured the hearts of millions after she was discovered severely abused in 2015.
Dodson was also given a 15-year sentence the day before on a gun charge. Prosecutors said he tossed a loaded pistol, cocaine and marijuana as he fled from North Charleston police. He will serve the two sentences simultaneously under a plea agreement, according to The Associated Press.
"This is as good as it gets us. Five years is the maximum possible penalty for felony animal cruelty in South Carolina," Charleston Animal Society’s Aldwin Roman, whose organization was responsible for the rescue of Caitlyn, said in a press conference. "This is a violent crime, there’s no way around it, and if it’s not considered one, that’s just ridiculous."
It was while Dodson was free on bail from his previous charge when he had Caitlyn chained up. Her muzzle was wrapped with electrical tape to prevent her from barking, and it had cut off blood flow to her tongue, leaving her in critical condition.
It took the Charleston Animal Society 36 hours to free the pup, and she then endured multiple surgeries to have part of her tongue removed and left her snout permanently scarred.
Caitlyn is now in great shape, despite the visible scars and emotional trauma.
Shortly after she recovered from her wounds, Barkbox treated her to the best day ever to celebrate her comeback, where she visited a firehouse and met the North Charleston mayor.
“Caitlyn is every dog. Every dog who’s been abused, neglected, she’s like the face for other dogs," said Charleston Animal Society’s Kay Hyman, in a video captured by Barkbox. "And because of her bravery and her survival, I think that’s why Caitlyn deserves a dog’s best day."
The Charleston Animal Society also began Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund a year after she was rescued to rescue other animals that are tortured or abused and help them recover.
To donate to the charity, visit their website.