The man accused of taping Caitlyn the Pit Bull’s mouth shut is now facing federal gun charges.
William Leonard Dodson has been charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon — a charge that isn’t related to the abuse he allegedly inflicted on Caitlyn last spring.
Dodson faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the gun charge.
Dodson is said to have bought Caitlyn for $20 in late May. The dog’s former owner said in court filings that Dodson admitted to taping Caitlyn mouth shut — and laughing about it — to stop her from barking.
Dodson was arrested for animal abuse shortly after Caitlyn was discovered in North Charleston, her muzzle bound shut with electrical tape. It’s thought that the tape was there for at least two days.
Dodson has been in jail since since June. He may be sentenced to up to five years in jail, and a $5,000 fine.
No trial date has yet been set on the animal cruelty charges, according to a local ABC affiliate.
Caitlyn has been under the care of the Charleston Animal Society, since her rescue.
She faced an initially guarded prognosis, — and did lose part of her lip and tongue, due to the taping — but has since thrived.
Caitlyn is now in a loving foster home where she will remain, until the animal cruelty charges against Dodson have been resolved.
In the meantime she’s been treated to an amazing Dog’s Best Day.
Caitlyn’s hobnobbed with both rock stars and shirtless firefighters.
And hours after the federal charges against Dodson came to light, the Charleston Animal Society posted to Facebook that while Dodson is incarcerated, Caitlyn herself “is free and happily visiting our beautiful beaches and parks and is doing very well!”
#Caitlyn UPDATE: Her accused abuser William Dodson has been charged with a Federal gun crime! She however is free and…
Posted by Charleston Animal Society on Thursday, February 25, 2016
Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore told BarkPost that the best happy ending still would be to see Caitlyn’s story inspire stronger animal cruelty laws, and more enforcement of those laws.
He said that she was just one of nearly 300 animals who’d been involved in cruelty situations that CAS saw last year — few of which he saw lead to any arrests or charges, like Caitlyn’s case did.
Elmore wishes that prosecutors, police, and lawmakers will take notice of the tremendous public interest in Caitlyn’s story, and use the opportunity to put more resources into preventing and punishing other cases of animal cruelty.
“This matters. This matters for society. This matters to the public,” Elmore said. “They need to heed that.”