white dog in cage

Justice For Caitlyn: Animal Abuser Spending 15 Years In Prison

A Premier Daily Highlight Story: Sometimes there are stories that can help raise and maintain awareness of important subjects. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to help keep parents in the know. They may be touching, and even make you shed a tear, but they are meant to keep an important message alive. This story is from March 2017.

In May 2015, a man from South Carolina wrapped electrical tape around his dog’s snout to stop her barking. The dog, named Caitlyn, was stuck in this state for 36 hours before her neighbors found her and called the authorities. The owner, 43-year-old William Dodson received a five-year prison sentence, the state’s maximum for animal cruelty. But at the end of the trial, Judge Markley Dennis told him, “I’m not trying to be mean but I wish I could give you more.” He described Caitlyn’s experience as “hell on earth.” [1]

Advertisement
Image Credit: Charleston Animal Society | Facebook

That was 36 hours of torture.”

One day before the sentence for animal cruelty, Dodson was in federal court, receiving a sentence of 15 years on a gun charge. During a traffic stop, he tossed a loaded Beretta 9 mm handgun, marijuana, and cocaine while trying to escape the police. The two sentences would carry out simultaneously under the plea agreement. 

Dodson was free on bail from the gun charge in 2015. That’s when he wrapped electrical tape around her muzzle nine times and chained her outside. Caitlyn is a Staffordshire bull terrier mix and 15 months old at the time. The tape had cut off blood circulation to her tongue. She managed to escape when the neighbors saw her, ill and weak, and called the Animal Society, where the veterinarians managed to free her from the tape. 

Advertisement

I remember seeing the fear … in her eyes,” said Aldwin Roman, Charleston Animal Society’s director of anti-cruelty and outreach. “That was 36 hours of torture.

Image Credit: Charleston Animal Society | Facebook

Read: Italy Votes to Ban Fur Farming And Shuts Down Remaining Mink Farms

Advertisement

Justice for Caitlyn”

Caitlyn underwent multiple surgeries, which included amputating part of her tongue. She still wears the scars from the abuse. The pictures of her bound muzzle sparked major outrage over social media with the trending hashtag: Justice for Caitlyn. When Dodson pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty and received his sentence, she was already living with a new family, according to Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore; however, she still suffered from stress and anxiety from the abuse.

This trial had ended in 2017 but it sent a strong message about how the law doesn’t tolerate animal cruelty, according to Roman. “We’re going to do everything we can within the law to stop this, and then we’re going to go beyond and change our laws and make them stronger,” he said. [2]

Dodson was denied parole, a unanimous decision from the seven members on the board, according to Peter O’Boyle, spokesman for S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. This hearing was attended by Kay Hyman, director of community engagement for the Charleston Animal Society. “I wanted to make sure the parole board understood the severity of this case and how … not only the scars Caitlyn has on her nose still are visible today, she also has emotional scars,” she said on a Facebook livestream. [3]

Advertisement
Image Credit: Charleston Animal Society | Facebook

Read: Holland breaks record as first country ever to have zero stray dogs

Trending Now

Tallest woman in the world smashes three more records
Tallest woman in the world smashes three more records
Warning Issued After Teen Was Electrocuted By Phone Charger In Her Sle...
Warning Issued After Teen Was Electrocuted By Phone Charger In Her Sle...
I’m living in my car to beat the housing crisis — here’s how I b...
I’m living in my car to beat the housing crisis — here’s how I b...
Is it OK to leash your child? Dad gets shamed for using leash with 5-y...
Is it OK to leash your child? Dad gets shamed for using leash with 5-y...
Toddler eagerly waits for her brother's birth but tragically dies just...
Toddler eagerly waits for her brother's birth but tragically dies just...
Dad, 39, was 'super healthy,' but then the mystery headaches began
Dad, 39, was 'super healthy,' but then the mystery headaches began
I only shower every 10 days — and I don’t care if you think I stin...
I only shower every 10 days — and I don’t care if you think I stin...
Visitors Caught Near World’s Largest Tree Now Face Prison Sentence
Visitors Caught Near World’s Largest Tree Now Face Prison Sentence
The Longest Walkable Distance On Earth Which No One Is Known To Have C...
The Longest Walkable Distance On Earth Which No One Is Known To Have C...
McDonald's Restaurant Bans All Under-18s From Entering After 5pm
McDonald's Restaurant Bans All Under-18s From Entering After 5pm
People Who Accidentally Woke Up Mid-Surgery Are Sharing What Happened...
People Who Accidentally Woke Up Mid-Surgery Are Sharing What Happened...
The Landlord Was Tired Of Her Not Paying Rent, So He Took Off Her Fron...
The Landlord Was Tired Of Her Not Paying Rent, So He Took Off Her Fron...
Advertisement

Caitlyn: Then and Now

Since the tragic event in 2015 Caitlyn has found loving owners and she is doing extremely well. Take a look at this 2021 update video below.

Advertisement

How to Recognize Signs of Animal Cruelty

Caitlyn’s justice is notable because most abused animals don’t get their day in court, namely because they can’t speak up for themselves. So it falls to the people around them to step in when there’s abuse and neglect. If anyone witnessed an animal in this situation, it’s imperative to get help for them. It’s likely no one else will notice or report it. Caitlyn’s taped snout may have seemed obvious, but there are other less noticeable signs of animal abuse.

Advertisement

Physical signs of abuse:

  • Wounds, scars, or untreated injuries and illnesses
  • Extreme thinness, dehydration, and malnutrition
  • Limping, weakness, confusion, issues standing and walking, extreme drowsiness
  • Parasite-infested fur or extremely dirty fur
  • Heavy discharge from nose and eyes

Environmental signs of abuse:

  • Animals kept outside without adequate shelter in extreme weather
  • Pets tied up for long periods of time without proper access to food and water
  • Animals kept in cages or kennels too small for proper movement
  • Pets kept in areas with dangerous objects, garbage, and feces
  • Pets abandoned by owners

Signs of other forms of animal cruelty:

  • Neglect: the owner fails to provide for the animal’s basic needs, such as clean water, nutritious food, safe shelter, and allowing the animal to move and exercise. 
  • Hoarding: involves keeping too many animals in one space and the owner is unable to meet the basic standards of shelter, sanitation, nutrition, and medical care. Often these animals look weak, emaciated, ill, and distressed in unsanitary, small environments.
  • Lack of veterinary care: involves owners leaving illnesses untreated, particularly conditions that require immediate attention.
  • Left outside: Pets left outside in extreme hot and cold temperatures.
  • Pets chained outside 24/7
  • Abandonment
  • Dog fighting/animal fighting 

If you see animals in this state, report the situation to the police department, animal shelter, or animal control agency. If there’s a crime or abuse in progress, call 911 immediately. Additionally, write down as many details as you can, like the address, time and date, names, appearance of the animal, etc. If possible take photos and videos of the area, animal, and incident. The more documentation in the report the better. [4]

Keep Reading: Rescue Dog With Autoimmune Disease Proves Beauty Comes From Within

Advertisement

Sources

Advertisement
  1. “A man in America has been jailed for five years for taping a dog’s mouth shut.BBC. March 27, 2017
  2. “Man who taped dog’s muzzle sentenced to 5 years.The Detroit News. March 25, 2017
  3. “Abuser of Caitlyn the dog denied parole, will serve remainder of his sentence.The Post and Courier. Michael Majchrowicz. September 14, 2020
  4. “How to Recognize the Signs of Animal Cruelty and Neglect.Humane Decisions
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
Advertisement