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In what is both a huge victory and an upsetting outcome simultaneously, Caitlyn the dog’s abuser was given the maximum penalty allowed in South Carolina – but, it won’t be extending prison time he’s already serving on unrelated convictions.
William Leonard Dodson, the 43-year old South Carolina man who plead guilty to animal cruelty in the 2015 abuse of Caitlyn, was handed down the maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. However, having just been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on unrelated drug and weapons charges on Thursday, Dodson’s prison term will not be extended by an additional 5 years. Rather, he’ll be serving both sentences at once.
Calling Caitlyn’s ordeal “Hell on Earth,” Circuit Judge Markley Dennis handed down the maximum sentence allowed. “I’m not trying to be mean,” the judge told the North Charleston resident, “but I wish I could give you more.”
Prosecutors negotiated with Dodson’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Charlie Cochran, and Judge Dennis agreed to allow Dodson to serve the state sentence at the federal prison he’ll eventually be sent to.
Now, nearly 2-years after her horrific ordeal, Caitlyn has recovered from multiple surgeries, including having a portion of her tongue removed, thanks to incredible care by the Charleston Animal Society and supporters around the world.
Although her physical wounds have healed, Caitlyn continues to suffer lasting psychological effects, including trust issues around certain men. She is currently living with a permanent foster family that includes children and a canine pal named Oreo. The Charleston Animal Society will continue to pay for her medical care for life. The rescue posts updates about Caitlyn frequently to their Facebook page.
Through her ordeal, Caitlyn became an icon in the animal rights community and a face for a growing anti-cruelty movement. As a result of the worldwide attention she received, the Charleston Animal Society created The Caitlyn Anti-Cruelty Fund to provide medical attention and outreach, assist in investigations, provide training to animal control and police officers, and to provide rewards for information leading to the capture of people that commit horrific acts of cruelty to other animals, like Caitlyn.