William Leonard Dodson, 42, of Quitman Street in North Charleston was given the maximum sentence possible (5-years) for abusing Caitlyn the dog in May 2015. Dodson 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. His sentencing for the plea took place March 24 in front of a packed courthouse. On March 23, Dodson was sentenced to 15 years on unrelated federal charges involving weapons. Both sentences will run concurrently (at the same time).
“Today’s plea shows progress, and we cannot say enough about the support from the community that made today’s outcome possible,” said Charleston Animal Society Director of Anti-Cruelty and Outreach Aldwin Roman. “We are committed to working with lawmakers, police and prosecutors to make sure justice is done for all animals who are abused like Caitlyn.”
On May 27, 2015, Caitlyn was found in North Charleston, with her muzzle clamped so tightly with electrical tape that her tongue had turned black. Pictures of her swollen muzzle went viral, and her story of survival drew worldwide attention and raised awareness of animal cruelty. “Her story is inspiring to so many people for so many different reasons,” said Charleston Animal Society Director of Community Engagement Kay Hyman. “It’s important to remember that a number of studies have a drawn a link between the abuse of animals and violence against people. We need to all find solutions to stop this cycle.”
Caitlyn continues to recover from anxiety and stress she developed after the trauma she endured at the hands of Dodson. She is currently living with a loving foster family and will remain in foster care with Charleston Animal Society. “Our number one priority is Caitlyn’s health and well-being and we are attending to special needs she has and will continue to do so,” said Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore.
Caitlyn’s story has been told on Facebook, CNN, BBC, People Magazine and other media outlets around the world. The hashtag #IamCaitlyn came to represent millions of other abused animals around the world. In the past year, Charleston Animal Society’s Anti-Cruelty Team has investigated cases across Charleston County involving dogs, cats, horses and rabbits. Charleston Animal Society also assisted in cruelty cases around the country, spearheaded by the ASPCA.
Charleston Animal Society is only able to fight cruelty cases like Caitlyn’s with your support. Please Donate to Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund to help all animal abuse victims.
Here are links to media coverage of the sentencing: