WARNING: Some of the photos in this story may be considered graphic
CHARLESTON — Caitlyn, the 15-month-old dog who was found last week with her muzzle taped shut, is well on her way to recovery.
CNN affiliate WCIV reported that the dog spent two hours in surgery Wednesday at Veterinary Specialty Care in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Dr. Henri Bianucci told the station that Caitlyn did much better than expected.
“Her tongue was in way better condition that we anticipated. It was initially assessed that we would lose about a third of her tongue, and we sort of revised that estimate to a fourth, but I don’t think she lost an eighth of it,” he said after the surgery.
Caitlyn should be able to eat and drink normally, he added.
“Functionally, I think she’ll be able to lap up food and water and do really well,” Dr. Bianucci said. The dog will be in recovery for about a week, he said, and then be ready for foster care.
Caitlyn, a chocolate Staffordshire bull terrier mix, was a well-known stray in the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood of North Charleston. She was left on someone’s doorstep on Wednesday with black electrical tape wrapped around her muzzle so tightly that her tongue was caught between her teeth.
The tape was apparently there for three days, according to the Charleston Animal Society, which took charge of the dog’s care last week.
North Charleston police arrested William Leonard Dodson, 41, on suspicion of the crime, said Ryan Johnson, spokesman for the City of Charleston. Dodson faces a charge of ill treatment of an animal involving torture. The crime is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine, according Charleston Animal Society Director of Anti-Cruelty Aldwin Roman.
‘We have the greatest of hopes’
Prayers and best wishes flooded the animal society’s Facebook page after it shared her story. New Jersey artist Janet O’Neil painted a portrait of the pup that was shared on social media over the weekend with the hashtag #Caitlyn.
The dog was transferred to Veterinary Specialty Care on Friday. She started receiving hyperbaric treatments every 12 hours to improve the damaged tissue in her mouth and cold laser therapy to promote healing, Senior Director of Veterinary Care Lucy Fuller said. She underwent a small surgical procedure on her lip Saturday.
Caitlyn started eating on her own after graduating from intravenous fluids and antibiotics to normal food and oral medications.
“We have the greatest of hopes for this beautiful girl,” Fuller said.
The animal society hopes the case will draw attention to animal cruelty and the importance of caring for stray animals. It is also asking the public for donations to a medical fund.