NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The 41-year-old man accused of taping a 15-month-old dog's muzzle shut last week was issued a $50,000 bond Tuesday morning, and told he must surrender another dog at his home.
William Leonard Dodson was arrested Monday night in the abuse case of Caitlyn, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix who was found last week with electrical tape wrapped around her muzzle, according to North Charleston Police spokesman Spencer Pryor.
Dodson, who has been charged with animal cruelty, was issued a $50,000 surety bond Tuesday by Magistrate Priscilla Baldwin.
He also must surrender a second dog he has at his residence, Baldwin ordered.
Court documents allege Dodson purchased the dog, which was known as "Diamond" at the time, for $20 on May 25. A witness who said she sold him the dog told investigators Dodson approached the woman who sold him the dog and said he had taped the dog's face with electrical tape because she would not stop barking. The witness said Dodson was laughing about the claim, court documents state.
Dodson also reportedly told the witness he had chained the dog in his front yard but that the dog had broken free and escaped, the affidavit states.
The dog was found the following day, Wednesday morning, on someone's doorstep with electrical tape wrapped around her muzzle.
A medical report from Veterinary Emergency Care described the dog's muzzle as "markedly swollen with evidence of tape around its muzzle," and its tongue as "significantly swollen, significantly bruised, discolored (dark purple) and oozing blood," court documents state.
The person who brought Caitlyn to the Charleston Animal Society said the dog was well-known in the Chicora Cherokee neighborhood and is regarded as friendly, but was not believed to have an owner, officials say.
"We are supportive of the NCPD's investigation and hope justice will be served in this case," said CAS Director of Community Engagement Kay Hyman. "We are eager for whomever committed this crime to be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law, which continues to be one of the nation's weakest."
When Caitlyn was first brought in to the Charleston Animal Society, the organization's Senior Director of Veterinary Care, Dr. Lucy Fuller, said a large portion of her tongue might have to be removed because it had become trapped between her teeth and lost blood flow."She may be severely disfigured, or the large amount of dead tissue may cause life-threatening complications," Fuller said.
However, over the weekend, Caitlyn has been receiving hyperbaric and cold laser treatment to save damaged tissue in her mouth and has been showing signs of progress.
Veterinarians at a specialty care center in Mount Pleasant say they are waiting to see how much she can heal on her own before making a decision on surgery.
Dr. Henry Bianucci, who is treating the dog, said Caitlyn is continuing to recover but has a way to go. Bianucci said on Tuesday that Caitlyn is responding well to treatment for pain, and will need reconstructive surgery on one side of her face.
He said he is hopeful that she will eventually be placed with a foster family.
Hyman says more than 50 people have already expressed interest in adopting Caitlyn when she is released, but says anyone can contact the Charleston Animal Society to have their name added to the list.
Anyone who wants to donate can visit Toby's Fund on the Charleston Animal Society's web page.
Aldwin Roman, an investigator for CAS, said it's the worst cases of animal cruelty he's ever seen.
"Her life is not going to be easy even if she completely recovers," Roman said."[Caitlyn] is going to be permanently disfigured and permanently disabled for the rest of her life. She's healing but the damage is done."
An animal cruelty conviction is a felony, carrying a five year penalty or $5,000 fine.
At the time of his arrest, Dodson was serving probation for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.