Caitlyn the Dog abuser gets 5 years in jail

William Leonard Dodson, 42, is expected to be sentenced at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 24 at the Charleston County Courthouse. (Image Source: WCBD)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — The North Charleston man who admitted to taping the muzzle of a staffie-mix female dog, Caitlyn, in May 2015 has been sentenced to jail.

A judge gave William Leonard Dodson, 42, five years in prison for his guilty plea to felony ill-treatment of an animal to run concurrently with his federal sentence. Dodson received a 15-year sentence on a federal drug and weapon conviction.

Dodson went before the judge at 10 a.m. Friday at the Charleston County Courthouse, according to Kay Hayman, Director of Community Engagement for the Charleston Animal Society.

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,” Hyman said. “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’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.