NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - The North Charleston man who pleaded guilty to the abuse of a dog that has since become an ambassador for the humane treatment of animals has received a sentence of five years.
MOBILE USERS: Click here to see photos from Caitlyn's recovery.
William Dodson was arrested in June 2015 after dog Caitlyn appeared on the doorstep of a North Charleston home with electrical tape wrapped around her muzzle.
The five-year sentence will be served concurrently with a 15-year sentence he received on a federal drug and weapon conviction because of a plea agreement, according to court documents. That means he will serve the five years for this latest conviction at the same time he is serving the larger sentence.
Charleston Animal Society investigator Aldwin Roman told the court he would never forget the sound Caitlyn made when the tape that bound her muzzle was removed.
"It was nine times around her muzzle, so tight she couldn't open her mouth. She was barely able to get her tongue out and immediately was stuck between her teeth,"Roman said. "She was headed towards death and finally, only a few hours away from that when she was found.
Judge Markley Dennis had some words for Dodson before he handed down the maximum sentence.
"I wish I could give you more, I really do," Dennis said.
You know what? He's a lowlife," Roman said after court adjourned. "Anyone who would hurt a defenseless, practically a puppy. I really don't care what he has to say."
The Charleston Animal Society initially reported the dog's tongue had become trapped between her teeth, cutting off circulation. The injury was so severe, veterinarians feared a large portion of her tongue would have to be amputated.
A medical report from Veterinary Emergency Care described the dog's muzzle as "markedly swollen with evidence of tape," and its tongue as "significantly swollen, significantly bruised, discolored (dark purple) and oozing blood," court documents add.
On Friday, Caitlyn returned to the Charleston Animal Society to have blood work done.
One of the veterinarians who saved her life said the dog is doing well.
"She may live 15 years and I guarantee she's gonna live a nice 15 years compared to the person who put her where she is," Dr. Henry Bianucci said.
Her story quickly gained worldwide attention on social media as veterinarians estimated it would cost thousands of dollars to treat her.
Dodson said he wrapped the tape around the dog's muzzle because she wouldn't stop barking. He was handed a felony charge of ill-treatment of an animal and indicted in February 2016.
Dodson was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday on a separate federal gun charge.