Man sentenced to five years in prison for taping dog's muzzle with tape

A South Carolina man has been sentenced to five years in prison after putting his dog through what was called "36 hours of torture."

43-year-old William Dodson was sentenced the state's maximum amount of time for animal cruelty for wrapping electrical tape around his dog's mouth to stop her from barking. This came one day after Dodson was given 15 years for a federal gun violation that occurred months before animal cruelty.

The dog, named Caitlyn, had to undergo reconstructive surgery. Her muzzle was swollen and her tongue had turned black from lack of blood circulation.

While the sentencing is the maximum amount for the charge, Dodson's prison time will not be extended beyond 15 years due to the gun charge. "I'm not trying to be mean," Circuit Judge Markley Dennis told the North Charleston resident, "but I wish I could give you more."

The photo of Caitlyn, a then-15-month-old Staffordshire mix, went viral when the initial story broke in 2015:

Credit: Charleston Animal Society

Despite the fact that Dodson will only do 15 years, animal activists consider the sentencing a victory. "I think this sends a message that ... we're not going to let this stuff slide anymore," Aldwin Roman, the society's director of anti-cruelty and outreach, told The Post and Carrier.

Roman and Caitlyn went on the animal's society Facebook Live on Friday:

"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."

The judge called what Caitlyn went through "hell on Earth." The dog had been taken to the Charleston Animal Society, where they had taken the tape off her muzzle after over a day.

"I remember seeing the fear ... in her eyes," Roman told The Post and Carrier. "That was 36 hours of torture."

Caitlyn has since recovered and found a forever home. Not only that, but the animal society brings her out for public events. "The amount of calls, letters my office has received ... is staggering," Assistant Solicitor Ted Corvey told The Post and Carrier. "Caitlyn has become somewhat of a symbol to the animal rights community."

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