"I wish I could give you more."
That's what Judge Markley Dennis told William Dodson in court on Friday as he sentenced him to five years in prison for taping his dog's muzzle shut. Five years is the maximum sentence for animal cruelty in the state of South Carolina but it comes on the tail of a gun and drug charge that landed him a total of 15 years in prison.
Dodson taped his dog Caitlyn's muzzle shut to keep her from barking back in 2015. The pictures of her mouth, swollen from the tape cutting off blood circulation, went viral when she was found after she escaped Dodson's backyard. The 15-month-old Staffordshire mix was found with the electrical tape wound around her mouth nine times. It took veterinarians at Charleston Animal Society 36 hours to remove the tightly-bound adhesive.
"I remember seeing the fear ... in her eyes," Aldwin Roman, Charleston Animal Society's director of anti-cruelty and outreach, told The Post and Courier.
"That was 36 hours of torture."
Caitlyn underwent numerous surgeries to try to reconstruct her damaged muzzle. She lost part of her tongue in the process which, as the story was recounted in court, the judge could only describe as;
"Hell on Earth."
Caitlyn's story has become a national fight against animal cruelty, and punishments brought against animal abusers. The courtroom was filled with supporters sporting "Justice for Caitlyn" pins. anxiously awaiting the verdict.
At the end of the day, Dodson will serve time well deserved and animal advocates think Friday's sentence was as good as they could've expected.
Caitlyn is celebrity of sorts, as the champion and example of horrendous animal cruelty. She is currently living with a permanent foster family.
In closing, the South Carolina judge indicated that stricter laws should be implicated in these kinds of animal abuse cases. The Caitlyn Fund has been set up by The Charleston Animal Society to help pay for medical fees for abused animals, educate pet owners about animal care, and to push law enforcement to correctly investigate animal abuse cases.
What do you think of the outcome? Tell us in the comments below.
Images via Charleston Animal Society/Facebook
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