Ownership history of dog muzzled with tape unclear over past year

Ownership history of dog muzzled with tape unclear over past year

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One year ago, Caitlyn, the dog at the center of an animal abuse case that garnered national attention, was spayed and microchipped at the Charleston Animal Society.

Twelve months later someone else brought her to the facility, this time with electrical tape wrapped so tightly around her muzzle that circulation to her tongue was cut off, leading to tissue damage, days of hyperbaric and cold laser treatment and surgeries.

What happened to her and, more specifically, who owned her over the past year, isn't as clear.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix was known as "Caitlyn" in May of 2014, when she was spayed, according Aldwin Roman, director of Anti-Cruelty and Outreach campaigns for the Charleston Animal Society. That's how the organization knew her name.

But that's about as much as they do know at this point. At some point, the person that brought her in to be spayed disappeared.

"The information registered to the microchip is untraceable," Roman said. The phone numbers listed on the microchip have been disconnected.

Charleston Animal Society's policy to hold microchipped animals for 14 days is based on state law. But Roman says that once they have made a reasonable effort to contact the owner, the minimum 5-day hold would then apply.

"Since the five days have already passed, Caitlyn now belongs to the Charleston Animal Society," Roman said.

Court documents allege the man charged with animal cruelty for taping the dog's muzzle purchased her on May 25 for $20. At that time, documents state, the dog was known as "Diamond."

The person who brought the dog to CAS on May 27 told the facility's staff the dog was known in the Chicora Cherokee neighborhood as friendly and was believed to be a stray.

Since her story gained national and international attention, more than 50 people have expressed interest in becoming Caitlyn's next owner, according to CAS spokesperson Kay Hyman. Anyone can add their name to the list by stopping by the Charleston Animal Society, Hyman said.

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