Man who taped Caitlyn the dog’s mouth shut sentenced for animal cruelty

On Friday, William Leonard Dodson was sentenced in one of the most disturbing animal cruelty cases ever presented in North Charleston. With Judge Markley Dennis, referring to Caitlyn’s torture as “hell on Earth” reported the Post and Courier, Dodson was given the maximum sentence for animal cruelty in South Carolina – five years.

“I’m not trying to be mean, but I wish I could give you more,” Judge Dennis told Dodson.

Although Dodson’s prison term will not be extended beyond the 15-year sentence on a federal gun and drug charges ordered on Thursday, advocates applauded the sentencing, stating the penalty sends a strong message to those who abuse and torture animals. The judge stated he would honor the prosecutor’s negotiations with Dodson’s public defender to serve the animal cruelty sentence at the same time as the federal punishment. During the hearing, Caitlyn’s story was told again as a crowd of animal advocates filled the courtroom.

The scar on Caitlyn’s snout is still very visible and few will forget when the dog was first rescued and brought to the Charleston Animal Society as Aldwin Roman, the director of anti-cruelty and outreach described how Caitlyn cried out in pain as veterinarians unraveled the electrical tape wrapped around her snout nine times. It is estimated the dog’s mouth had been taped shut for 36 hours. The dog’s veterinarian report described her muzzle as “markedly swollen with evidence of tape and her tongue as “significantly swollen, significantly bruised, discolored (dark purple) and oozing blood,” a court record stated. Dodson said he wrapped the tape around the dog’s mouth because she wouldn’t stop barking.

As to to the brightest part of the morning, was Caitlyn’s appearance as she happily ran around at the Animal Society chasing balls, appreciating the smiling faces of visitors and loving life.

Read the previous story here.

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You can catch the entire video and reaction from the Charleston Animal Society below. Although there was disappointment that the five years Dodson was sentenced to prison on Friday morning wasn’t added on to sentence, but most are convinced that Caitlyn did find some justice:

Abuser of Caitlyn the dog sentenced to 15 years in federal prison

In Charleston, South Carolina, the man who committed one of the most heinous acts of animal cruelty to a puppy dubbed Caitlyn by tightly duct taping her muzzle so she couldn’t bark, eat or drink nearly two years ago, has been sentenced to prison for the next 15 years. William Leonard Dodson, 43, was sentenced  in United States District Court on Thursday, however on an unrelated charge. 

A press release by United States Attorney Beth Drake stated:

“Evidence presented at the change of plea and sentence hearings established that officers with the North Charleston Police Department initiated a traffic stop on Dodson and Dodson fled on foot. As Dodson ran from law enforcement, he threw a loaded Beretta 9 mm handgun, along with marijuana and cocaine, which law enforcement recovered after Dodson was apprehended. Dodson has multiple prior felony convictions, including four prior conviction for possessing of narcotics with intent to distribute.”

According to the Post and Courier,  Dodson’s sentence is the end result stemming  from the drugs and gun possession charges. Having a record of multiple past felonies, the 15-year sentence was the mandatory minimum term. His sentence is scheduled to be followed up with two years of probation. The charge carries up to life.

And now as to the animal cruelty charge, the Charleston Animal Society posted on their Facebook page, that a hearing will be held Friday morning in the case of Caitlyn:

“THE Animal Abuse Case Heard ‘Round the World:
~~~Caitlyn finally gets justice!~~~~
Friday, March 24th 10am
Charleston County, SC Courthouse
MEDIA ALERT: Caitlyn Abuser to be Sentenced in Court on Animal Cruelty Charges
William Leonard Dodson Sentencing Scheduled for 10am on March 24th

WHO: William Leonard Dodson, 42, of Quitman Street in North Charleston plead guilty to a felony charge of ill-treatment of an animal last August, for taping the muzzle of the staffie-mix female dog, Caitlyn, in May 2015.
WHAT: His sentencing for the plea will take place Friday, March 24. Dodson faces from 180 days to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Dodson also faces charges in unrelated cases involving drugs and weapons.
WHEN: March 23, 2017 at 10AM
WHERE: Charleston County Courthouse, 100 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401
WHY: Justice for Caitlyn the dog”

The Staffordshire bull terrier’s story went global after she was found with her tongue sticking out and swollen in June 2015. The electrical tape had been wrapped around her snout nine times. During an investigation into Caitlyn’s egregious cruel treatment, a witness told authorities that Dodson had complained the puppy barked too much after purchasing her for $20. When the dog broke free of her chain, she wandered off and was found as a stray. During her rehabilitation, Caitlyn lost part of her tongue and underwent repeated surgeries to enable her to recuperate. The dog has since become the namesake for abused animals through the Charleston Animal Society; her fund pays for veterinary care for dogs involved in cruelty and neglect cases.

 

Dodson’s faces between 180 days and five years in prison along with a fine of $5,000.

Click here to see Caitlyn’s message from 2015. She has since been adopted and lives with her human family and canine pal Oreo.