A judge sentenced a South Carolina man to five years in prison on Friday after he used electrical tape to muzzle a dog in order to stop her from barking. William Leonard Dodson was sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum for animal cruelty, after he pleaded guilty to a felony animal cruelty charge last August.
After the owner dumped Caitlyn, a 15-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier mix dog, with him in May 2015, Dodson, 43, wrapped electrical tape very tightly, nine times around the dog’s muzzle, to stop her from barking. He then chained her outside for 36-48 hours, according to the Post and Courier.
— WGN TV News (@WGNNews) March 27, 2017
She underwent reconstructive surgery after she was discovered with her muzzle tightly bound with electrical tape. https://t.co/DabmTIx1xt
— HuffPost Australia (@HuffPostAU) March 27, 2017
The judge described the dog’s suffering during the 36-48 hours that her muzzle was taped shut as “hell on Earth.”
The North Charleston man reportedly taped Caitlyn’s mouth shut after he became infuriated by her incessant barking. He taped the dog’s mouth very tightly with electrical tape, trapping her tongue painfully between her teeth. The dog later escaped and was found in a critical condition.
Aldwin Roman, the Charleston Animal Society’s Director of Anti-Cruelty and Outreach, described to the judge the condition in which he found Caitlyn when she was brought to his office.
According to Roman, Dodson taped the dog’s muzzle so tightly that her teeth bit painfully into her tongue. Veterinarians who removed the tape said it was wound so tightly that it cut off blood flow to the dog’s tongue. Caitlyn’s muzzle swelled painfully to about double its normal size and made breathing very difficult.
Should have received more hard time yet, this is better than nothing!… https://t.co/9xQG32hzDE
— Fido to go Chicago (@fidotogo) March 27, 2017
— Karen (@daxam) March 27, 2017
When veterinarians unwound the tape, the dog screamed in agony.
“I remember seeing the fear in her eyes,” Roman told the judge during the March 24, 2017, trial.
“That was 36 hours of torture.”
“I would call it hell on Earth,” Circuit Judge Markley Dennis added.
But Roman said Caitlyn was recovering after her ordeal, according to KDVR.
Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore said that although Caitlyn had received care and found a new family, she was still suffering from the emotional trauma of her experience, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The Post and Courier reported that Assistant Solicitor Ted Corvey said that Dodson claimed he had to tape the dog’s mouth shut because she wouldn’t stop barking.
“I had to do it,” Dodson allegedly said, “She wouldn’t shut up.”
Judge Dennis said he would have to sentence Dodson to the maximum punishment due to the extreme nature of the act of animal cruelty.
“I’m not trying to be mean,” the judge said, “but I wish I could give you more.”
Dodson was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday, a day after a federal court sentenced him to 15 years in prison on a gun charge, the Post and Courier reported. The gun charge stemmed from a separate incident during a traffic stop months before the incident involving Caitlyn.
Update : Calling the dog's ordeal "hell on Earth," a judge on Friday sentenced Caitlyn's abuser to five years in… https://t.co/zVqGexoDcm
— Broken Paws (@Broken_Paws_Int) March 26, 2017
Prosecutors said Dodson also faces a drug charge stemming from the March 2015 traffic stop. He allegedly tossed a loaded gun along with cocaine and marijuana as he tried to escape from police officers.
He was free on bail after the traffic stop arrest when he chained Caitlyn outside and bound her muzzle nine times with electrical tape.
He will serve the sentences simultaneously under a plea agreement.
Commenting on the sentence, Roman said it was appropriate because it sends a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.
“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 told the Post and Courier.
[Featured Image by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]