One of the most disturbing cases of animal cruelty to surface lately is that of Caitlyn, a dog who was found late last month in Charleston, South Carolina, with her muzzle tightly taped shut.
The story of Caitlyn has been heavily covered in the news, and even a brief glimpse at the facts makes me feel an overwhelming despair for humanity. By the time she was found, her muzzle had been taped shut for several days, and she required facial reconstruction surgery to repair the damage done by the tape. It was so tightly wound that it cut off the blood in her jaw, tongue, and cheeks. Her surgeon, Henry Bianucci, told Headline News, “She essentially had no cheek at all on one side.”
It’s hard enough to read about that, never mind write about it. But fortunately, there are some good things starting to come out of the story.
First of all, police have actually arrested a suspect in the case. A man named William Leonard Dodson has been arrested. Yesterday morning, he appeared before a judge, who ordered that Dodson be held on a $50,000 bond. The judge also ordered that Dodson’s other dog be removed from his home. If convicted, he could face anywhere from 180 days to five years in prison.
Even better, Caitlyn herself is ready to start looking for a new family — one who will love her, and with whom she won’t have to worry about having her muzzle taped shut. Bianucci told The Post and Courier that she’s ready for foster care. “She’s got a little bit of skin that might slough off her nose, but I think she is OK to go,” he said.
Because of the press coverage, there are a lot of people who would be only too happy to foster or adopt her. Last week, Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore told USA Today that “half the Western Hemisphere” wanted to give her a home.
“People all over the country and world have reached out to us,” he said.”Right now, we have 200 other Caitlyns we need to find homes for.”
Caitlyn’s celebrity and history make her a very special case. The Charleston Animal Society has formed a panel to find her a good home.
The road to recovery is not over for Caitlyn. Whoever winds up taking her into their home, whether to foster or as a forever family, is going to need to give her a little extra care. The trauma she went through was extreme, and her wounds will need tending for some time. But overall, it looks like Caitlyn has a good chance of getting a happy ending after all, even if the first reports of her story gave little hope for that.
You can an eye on Caitlyn during her recovery at Veterinary Specialty Care via UStream:
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